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
Allt Cul Corriehiam Stone Circle
3 posts
Allt Cul Corriehiam 2 Stone Circle
3 posts
Allt Cul Corrriehiam Cist
3 posts
Allt Mor Chambered Cairn
26 posts
Auchagallon Stone Circle
8 posts
Aucheleffan Stone Circle
2 posts
Baile Meadhonach Chambered Cairn
56 posts
Brodick (carvings) Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art
4 posts
Carn Ban Chambered Cairn
1 post
Clauchlands Stone Fort / Dun
3 posts
Cleiteadh Chambered Tomb
1 post
Cnoc Ballygown Hillfort
4 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
17 posts
Druid Auchencar Standing Stone / Menhir
5 posts
Dunan Beag Chambered Cairn
7 posts
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
6 posts
Kildonan Standing Stone / Menhir
1 post
Kilpatrick Dun (or Cashel) Stone Fort / Dun
19 posts
Lamlash Stone Circle Stone Circle
8 posts
Largybeg Standing Stones
6 posts
Machriewater Foot Standing Stone / Menhir
4 posts
Machrie Burn Stone Circle
121 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
2 posts
North Blairmore Standing Stone / Menhir
5 posts
1 site
North Sannox Cairn(s)
3 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
18 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
18 posts
King's Cave Carving


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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 547 posts. Most recent first | Next 10

Machrie Moor — Folklore

There is more than one tale told of 'Domhnull-nam-mogan's' encounter with a 'bocan'. A bocan is one of those dreaded visitants from another world, sometimes taking human form, sometimes animal form, and sometimes the form of inanimate things such as a ship. Domhnull-nam-mogan, a religious man who lived in Tormore, was returning late from a visit to a friend in Machrie, by way of Machrie Water and Tormore Moss, when he was met at a spot near the standing stones by a 'bocan'.

The bocan was of such a size that Donald could see all Aird Bheinn between his legs. Quite undaunted by such stature, Donald requested that the 'bocan' assume the size and appearance he had when living on earth, and the latter complying, Donald immediately remarked that he now recognised him.

He further remarked that the 'bocan' must be in possession of the secrets of a good many mysteries. 'Would he say what had happened to Angus Dubh when the latter was lost on a journey from Lamlash to Shisken [Shiskine] by way of the Clachan [Clauchan] Glen? He (the bocan) in all probability had a hand in doing away with Angus.'

The 'bocan' denied that he had any hand in the crime, but he knew plenty about it, and who did hurl Angus over a certain cliff. Donald then asked to be shown a treasure, and was told to come to a certain place in Gleann-an-t-suidhe on the following night, but without the darning needle in his bonnet, the little dog at his heel, and the ball of worsted in his pocket. Donald took counsel as to the advisability of such a course, and as a result did not keep the appointment.
From The Book of Arran, volume 2, p275 (1914).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th October 2018ce

King's Cave (Carving) — Folklore

There is a legend about the King's Caves to the effect that there is a subterranean passage from the caves to somewhere else in Arran. An adventurous piper undertook to explore this passage, armed only with his bagpipe and accompanied by his dog. After he had proceeded some distance he met with enemies, because the following wailing words were played loudly upon his pipe, which clearly indicated that he could proceed no farther.

Mo dhith! Mo dhith" 's gun tri laimh agam.
Bhiodh da laimh 'sa phiob 'us lamh 'sa chlaidheamh;

which might be literally rendered in English -

Woe's me, woe is me not having three hands,
Two for the pipe and one for the sword.

He, the piper, never returned; his dog, however, made his way out, but bereft of his hair.
From The Book of Arran, volume 2 (1914), p273.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th October 2018ce

Clauchlands (Stone Fort / Dun) — Folklore

This story actually applies to the next hill but despite being called a 'Dun', it's not marked on Canmore's map as such. Clauchlands, or Dun Fionn, is marked as a vitrified fort. It might be advisable to take your darning needle with you on an expedition to either.
A hill at Corriegills, called Dundubh (Black Mount), was said to have a cave in which the fairies lived, and this cave was full of treasure. To this home of the fairies an old man called Fullarton would betake himself, as often as he felt inclined. He frequently took a stocking with him and sat knitting and talking with the fairies. But the fairies were not always inclined to let any one away if they could detain him. Fullarton was aware of this fact, and always placed a darning needle in the collar of his jacket, or took a piece of rowan with him; when these precautions were taken by a person, the fairies had no power over them. On one occasion, however, he had omitted to take either of these objects, with the result that the cave nearly closed before he could escape.
From The Book of Arran, volume 2, by W.M. Mackenzie (1914), page 269.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th October 2018ce

Lamlash Stone Circle — Folklore

Three men were returning home in a cart, when, at the top of the hill on the road between Lamlash and Brodick, the horse stood still and snorted, and showed signs of fear, and as though it saw something it did not want to pass. After much urging on the part of the driver, the horse made a bolt forward past a certain spot. The men looked back to see what had frightened the animal, and saw a number of small figures, twelve to eighteen inches in height, on the road behind them. The fairies did them no harm beyond taking the door off the cart. This occurred within the last fifty years, and the relater heard it from one of the men who had been in the cart.
From The book of Arran, volume 2, by W.M. Mackenzie (1914), page 269. These stones definitely seem to be at the highest point of the road and surely must contribute to any high strangeness at the spot. The Fairy Glen is also not far away.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th October 2018ce

Oscar's Grave (Chambered Cairn) — Folklore

In bygone days it is said a battle had been fought near Slidderie Water between Fionn's forces and some others. A great many were slain and buried near the field of slaughter.

This had become a dreaded place by the natives, as it was said to be haunted, owing to the ground having been tilled, which disturbed the rest of these dead warriors.

The shades of the dead that traversed these quiet regions in the lone hours of night were awesome in the extreme, and had evidently been visible not only to persons but also to animals; and the following instance is related.

A certain man had been on the road with his horse and cart, when without warning the horse stood still and would proceed no farther. His ears stood up, while he snorted and was sweating from evident fear. The reason of this soon became known, for there rose before the man's vision like as it were a small cloud or mist, which grew larger and larger till it became a great size, but it was not only a cloud; whether in it or of it the cloud had taken an uncanny form of a wraith.

This man had met this unwelcome thing more than once.
In The book of Arran, volume 2, by W.M. Mackenzie (1914), p252.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th October 2018ce

Machrie Moor — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Machrie Moor</b>Posted by ironstone ironstone Posted by ironstone
1st October 2018ce

North Sannox (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>North Sannox</b>Posted by Howburn Digger Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
3rd July 2018ce

North Sannox 2 (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

This site has been clear-felled. Though I should stress the ground is NOT clear. It is an almost un-navigable wastleand of treestumps, holes, deep tyre-ruts and such-like. The cairns where I have been able to locate them, have ALL been respected by the plantation fellers. However the ground surrounding the cairn resembles The Somme in 1917. Here is the current state of North Sannox 2 which I was completely unable to locate last year despite the clear-felling. It was just too much of a wild jumble...

Canmore's photo perfectly shows the same orientation in my first "forested" photo of the chamber back in July 2012 when it was deep in Spruce Plantation.
Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
2nd July 2018ce

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
Showing 1-10 of 547 posts. Most recent first | Next 10