The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian



Sites in this group:

5 posts
Allt Carn Bhain Chambered Cairn
7 posts
2 sites
Allt Cul Corriehiam Stone Circle
2 posts
Allt Mor Chambered Cairn
26 posts
Auchagallon Cairn Cairn(s)
11 posts
Aucheleffan Stone Circle
2 posts
Baile Meadhonach Chambered Cairn
56 posts
Brodick (carvings) Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art
5 posts
Carn Ban Chambered Cairn
1 post
Cnoc Ballygown Hillfort
2 posts
Creagdhu Hillfort
2 posts
Creag Dhubh Hillfort
6 posts
Creag Ghlas Cup Marked Stone
15 posts
Deer Park Standing Stones
5 posts
The Doon Hillfort
4 posts
The Doon Standing Stone / Menhir
21 posts
Druid Auchencar Standing Stone / Menhir
6 posts
Dunan Beag Chambered Cairn
7 posts
1 site
Dunan Mor Chambered Cairn
8 posts
East Bennan Chambered Cairn
1 post
Fforde's Buttress Natural Rock Feature
32 posts
Giant's Graves Chambered Cairn
3 posts
Glenrickard Chambered Cairn Chambered Cairn
1 post
Glen Shurig Cairn(s)
8 posts
Kildonan Standing Stone / Menhir
1 post
Kilpatrick Dun (or Cashel) Stone Fort / Dun
3 posts
Lagg Chambered Tomb
22 posts
Lamlash Stone Circle Stone Circle
9 posts
Largybeg Standing Stones
6 posts
Machriewater Foot Standing Stone / Menhir
5 posts
Machrie Farm Stone Circle
119 posts
7 sites
Machrie Moor
11 posts
Merkland Cist
7 posts
Mid Sannox Standing Stones
16 posts
Monamore Chambered Tomb
1 post
Monamore Glen Cairn(s)
7 posts
Monyquil Standing Stone / Menhir
7 posts
Moyish Standing Stone / Menhir
4 posts
1 site
North Sannox Cairn(s)
2 posts
Oscar's Grave Chambered Cairn
1 post
Ossian's Mound Round Barrow(s)
10 posts
Sannox Standing Stone / Menhir
5 posts
Sannox Chambered Cairn
4 posts
Sliddery Cist
13 posts
Stronach Standing Stone / Menhir
5 posts
Tormore I Chambered Cairn
20 posts
Torrylin Cairn(s)
13 posts
Torr an Loisgte Chambered Cairn
2 posts
Torr a Chaistell Stone Fort / Dun
Sites of disputed antiquity:
5 posts
Black Cave Cave / Rock Shelter
4 posts
Kingscross Point Standing Stone / Menhir
17 posts
King's Cave Carving


Add news Add news

Cremated bones of Bronze Age tumour sufferer found hanging from Scottish cliff

A cist burial spotted hanging from a cliff on the edge of Scotland came from the ceremony of a Bronze Age adult cremated swiftly after their death, say archaeologists investigating the bones of a body whose skull carried a tumour... continues...
moss Posted by moss
4th April 2014ce

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<b>Arran</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Arran</b>Posted by Howburn Digger <b>Arran</b>Posted by tiompan <b>Arran</b>Posted by tiompan <b>Arran</b>Posted by Howburn Digger <b>Arran</b>Posted by Howburn Digger <b>Arran</b>Posted by Howburn Digger


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In Arran, the belief in fairies still lingers in the minds of the older inhabitants, and many curious stories are told of the pilfering habits and cunning tricks of the wee-folks, who held their midnight meetings within the stone circles and old forts of the Island.

Many of the minor relics of the stone period have been found beneath the moss and heath of the Arran glens and hills, but few of them have been deemed worthy of preservation. Arrow-heads of stone and flint are frequently picked up by the natives whilst digging peat in the moors [..] They are called elf-shots by the Islanders, and are supposed to have been used by the fairies long ago.

[..] As we find the little flint arrow-head associated with Scottish folk-lore as the elfin's-bolt, so the stone hammer of the same period was adapted to the creed of the Middle Ages. The name by which it was popularly known in Scotland, almost to the close of the last century, was that of the Purgatory Hammer [.. so the inhabitant of the burial cist could] with it thunder at the gates of purgatory..
McArthur also talks of the highly polished stone balls found in cists and the "Baul Muluy" (the stone globe of Saint Monlingus): a goose-egg sized stone of jasper, which could cure diseases. People swore solemn oaths on it, and "even during the present generation it has been consulted by the credulous Islanders". Curiously it could remove 'stitches from the sides of sick persons' and if it didn't cure you and you died, "it moved out of bed of its own accord."

St Molingus was said to have been chaplain to the McDonalds, and they carried the ball with them into battle for good luck. It was next held by the MacIntosh family as a hereditary privelege, but "this curious relic was lost a few years ago by a gentleman to whom it was entrusted, who partook too much of the scepticism of the present age to appreciate its value."

A final bit of related folklore: "The perforated pebbles of the British barrows [..] are still known in the Scottish Highlands by the name of Clach Bhuai , or the powerful stones, on account of the inherent virtues they are believed to possess."

From p68-71 of 'The antiquities of Arran' by John McArthur (1861).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
20th August 2007ce

The traditions.. which float around this class of the Arran grave mounds [chambered cairns] are associated with the fierce raids and clanish feuds of early times; and it is said that the ghosts of the buried dead were wont to rise from their graves and renew the combat in the shadowy folds of the evening mists.
From p22 of 'The Antiquities of Arran' by John McArthur (1861).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th August 2007ce
Edited 18th August 2007ce


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Internet Archive

The Book of Arran by J A Balfour (1910). Contains lots of diagrams and photos of sites and finds from the island - chambers, stones, cup and rings, urns, allsorts. The back page is a rather interesting map with all the locations marked.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
16th November 2010ce
Edited 16th November 2010ce

Latest posts for Arran

Showing 1-10 of 541 posts. Most recent first | Next 10

Creagdhu (Hillfort) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Creagdhu</b>Posted by Howburn Digger Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
16th July 2017ce

Creag Dhubh (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Creag Dhubh</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Creag Dhubh</b>Posted by Howburn Digger Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
16th July 2017ce

Allt Carn Bhain (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Allt Carn Bhain</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Allt Carn Bhain</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Allt Carn Bhain</b>Posted by Howburn Digger Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
16th July 2017ce

Allt Carn Bhain (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Site visit 13 July 2017

I always find myself at North Sannox for a few hours each year. My OH does a pony trek up Glen Sannox each year when we visit Arran... so I have a little free time on my hands. The reference on Canmore to a chambered cairn on the slope below the fort on Torr Reamhar was intriguing. No-one noticed what it was till the 1990's? Well, new old things are turning up all the time on Arran... I was leg-knackered from conquering Goatfell the day before so this was going to be a gentle strool and an appropriately sedate pace.
I struck uphill from the farm at North Sannox staying on the improved pasture side of the wire fence. The fields have a few sheep and are used for grazing ponies and horses too. Once at the level of the Communications Mast (just a couple of hundred feet up) strike out across the side of the hill staying on the contour line. You cross a stream and the wee path carries you directly across the hillside to a large pile of stones. This isn't the cairn you are looking for - but a mighty cairn it certainly is (even if Canmore and OS haven't noticed it yet).
Keep going acroos the side of the hill. A few hundred feet above on the skyline, the steep sided rocky stump which is topped by Torr An T' Sean Chaisteil looks over the North Sannox Valley (it is a marvellous hillfort site and a beautiful viewpoint but there was no time on this outing).
The Allt Carn Bhain cairn comes into view a little below and just on the other side of an old field boundary. It is an easy stroll down and across.
The cairn is quite substantial though it has been ripped-oot at some point. The bleached white bones of a sheep lie at the East End in a deep scoop. The West End of the cairn is marked by a massive triangular conglomerate boulder jutting out of the small hillside terrace like a tooth. Among the granite stones and boulders lie out-of-place and odd-looking river and beach rolled stones. Within the cairn material a few upright slabs can be made out and there is what appears to be a partial chamber in a hollow on the North side.
I ate a sandwich and had some juice while perched on the big triangular conglomerate boulder, peering down at the Lochranza Road. I watched two Golden Eagles fly in from the crooked corrie of The Devil's Punchbowl at the end of the Goatfell Ridge and then made my way down to the the old ruins of the clearance township at the bottom of the hill. I walked out along to North Sannox Farm to wait for my OH returning from her pony trek. While I sat I got chatting to a woman now living in Vancouver, who, it turned out, half a centuiry ago grew up three streets away from me in a town in Ayrshire and went to school with my late brother. I didn't dare tell her that by a pure fluke I had a Canadian Flag in the boot of my car. Small world.
Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
16th July 2017ce

Allt Carn Bhain (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Allt Carn Bhain</b>Posted by Howburn Digger Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
16th July 2017ce

Giant's Graves (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Giant's Graves</b>Posted by Howburn Digger Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
14th July 2017ce

Giant's Graves (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.16

There is a signpost for the Glenashdale Falls and the Giant's Grave is then signposted off this path to the left - all zig zag uphill. On the way up you pass a tree that has been planted in memory of Terry, and photos, who passed away in 2013.

It takes 30 minutes to walk to the tombs and you need to be fairly mobile to be able to make it but the path is easy to follow. Once you reach the site there are good views over to Holy Island and the Scottish Scotland.

It was amazing the difference in the weather from when I started to when I got to the top. When I started there was little wind and although overcast it was fairly warm. At the top it was windy, misty and cold!

The two tombs are well worth the effort to walk up the hill. The first tomb you come to is the better preserved and it was good to be able to clamber about the stones and look inside to see how it was constructed. The remaining upright stones are of a good size. The nearby second tomb is not as extensive but obviously still worth checking out. It was no great surprise to find I had the hilltop to myself. I have found that when visiting any site on the Scottish islands / highlands you are virtually guaranteed to get the place to yourself. Orkney and Callanish excepted of course!

It is surprising how some very good sites are not under the care of Historic Scotland etc yet lesser preserved sites are. This site is well worthy of such recognition.
Posted by CARL
8th August 2016ce
Showing 1-10 of 541 posts. Most recent first | Next 10