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

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Toe Head (Broch)

The headland was also an important landmark over 2,000 years ago, as it was the site of a 'broch' a large and impressive tower of two or three storeys that served as an Iron Age chieftain's residence. All that now remains is the circular foundation course, partly build over by the chapel. All of its other stonework has been removed, probably re-used in the construction of the nearby buildings including the chapel. One or more possible lines of enclosure on the landward side across the narrowest part of the promontory may also been part of the defensive strategy.

In earlier prehistoric times, up to 5,000 years ago, people left enigmatic 'cup marks' (small circular depressions) on the rocky ledges of the headland. 500 metres along the shore are the eroding remains of their settlements, which had been occupied periodically since the time of the Mesolithic hunter-gatherers.

Notice Board at site.

Leckie (Broch)

Some of the background to the site.

Knockandu Church/Knowehillock (Stone Circle)

There is no trace of this stone circle in a re-afforested area. There is no knowledge at Carron House of the stone which went there in the early 20th century, but the minister of Knockando parish church (Information from R Prentice, The Manse, Knockando) believes that one of the grave stones in the Grants of Carron burial enclosure known as "The Elchies Tomb", in the churchyard, came from the stone circle. There are two erect monoliths in the enclosure, one inscribed with the date 1934, and the other with the date 1940; it is possible that one of them is the stone which originally went to Carron House.


(one problem with this, there are three.)

Glen Wood (Cairn(s))

Archaeological notes
NO66SE 2 6778 6227. (Name: NO 678 622) Three Laws (NR), Cist, Skeletons, Urn & Ring found (NAT). OS 6" map, (1959) The three 'Law of Logie' were three mounds, two of which had been dug into for sand and gravel by 1793. One contained a cist with a complete skeleton. 'The second Law was found to contain four human skeletons, deposited only at about a foot depth from the surface ... and at a little distance from these was found a beautiful ring, supposed to be of ebony, as black as jet, of a fine polish and in perfect preservation. This ring, which the minister of the parish has in his custody, is of circular form, flat in the inside and rounded without; its circum- ference is about 12 inches and diameter 4. The thickness of its rim in the middle is more than half an inch, and its greatest breadth about an inch and a half, which diminishes in gradual proportion till it is only about 1/4 of an inch.' At a depth of about 4' what was obviously a cinerary urn lying on its side was found at 6' were 'several cavities.' The third and largest of the three Laws was still intact 'near circular, with a sort of fosse round it, filled up with round stones, intermingled with pieces of glass.' OSA 1793. The sites of two of the mounds (B and C) are occupied by old gravel pits. The third appears to be a possible saucer-cairn and lies a little to the north, on the summit of rising ground. It is a circular enclosure very slightly raised in the centre, and surrounded by a shallow ditch and outer bank of earth and stones. This bank is 3.8m broad and generally 0.7m high except on the SW where it is 1.2m high as the ground dips into a slight hollow. The ditch is 3.2m wide and 0.3m deep. Across the bank it measures 36.0m in diameter. Dense undergrowth and fallen trees within the wood made detailed examination difficult. Visited by OS (J L D) 25 June 1958. The survivor ('A') of the 'Three Laws', on a rise, has recently been cleared of trees and scrub and mutilated by bulldozers crossing it, and is in poor condition. It consists of a fairly level circular area with a slight internal rise, c.20.0m in diameter surrounded by a ditch c.2.0m wide and 0.4m average depth with an outer bank of rubble stones on it rim c.3.5m wide and 0.4m average height, best preserved in the N arc. The interior is featureless, except for a mutilation in the N arc where a hole has been dug in the ditch to reveal the rubble infill mentioned in OSA, and the considerable stone content of the interior area, revealed by probing. No entrance is evident. The site appears to be a saucer-cairn with Wessex affinities.

Scotland's Places.

House Of The Fairies (Souterrain)

In 1844 a souterrain was discovered, known to the islanders as the House Of Fairies. It consists of a lintelled passage, some 9m long with at least one known lateral branch. The stones used in its construction are large, with massive walls converging towards to the top to accommodate the lintels. The structure which has been excavated numerous times since 1844 with finds giving a suggested date back to the first or early second millennium AD. A few decorated potsherds are similar to standard Iron Age finds uncovered elsewhere in the Western Isles.

Lewis and Harris by Francis Thompson.

Dun Bharabhat (Stone Fort / Dun)

The broch or galleried dun is on a small islet in Loch Bharabhat. The approach is a 600m walk from the road (B8059) into Bernera, crossing over the bridge into the island from the Lewis mainland. Accessibility but worthwhile. The dun was robbed early last century to build a sheep dipping tank, but sufficient remains to the site one of great interest. Dun Bhatabhat is an 'island dun', a defensive structure built on a small island with a 33m long causeway approach; it is one of a number of such structures to be found in the Western Isles.

Recent excavations have produced some surprises. Far from being the simple (i.e. solid walled) dun as recorded much earlier this century, it has features akin to a broch. One radio carbon date suggests 650BC for a primary structure and another, around 100BC, indicates a secondary occupation before abandonment. What is interesting about these dates is that they are earlier than the dating plan suggested for duns on the Scottish Atlantic coast.

The dun once had a double set of walls, like a broch, with a stair case in one intra mural gallery. At some time in the dun's history there w2as a second structure outside its walls which now lies in the waters of Loch Bharabhat. This has proved to be an excellent time capsule from which various objects have been recovered, pieces of heather rope, animal bones and straw, all of which have to be correctly assessed and placed in an appropriate time context.

The whole site is of interest because the underwater excavation complements the work being carried out on the land based dun and is the first time the two techniques have been used hand in hand.

About one quarter of the dun wall still survives to a height of 3m and is about 2.4m thick. A lower gallery is visible with a chamber at intermediate height.

Lewis and Harris by Francis Thompson.

Loch an Dun (Stone Fort / Dun)

This site is in Loch an Dun, near Lower Bayble on the Eye Peninsula. However impressive it might have been in its day, it is now in a completely ruinous state, being roughly a circular mass of stone. The site is connected to the mainland by a man-made causeway about 1m wide. Some imagination is need to identify parts of the dun's outward wall, close to the water level, which seems to have been solid rather than galleried.

Lewis and Harris by Francis Thompson.

Dun Bharclin (Stone Fort / Dun)

This site, known as Dun Bharclin on the OS map, is rather inaccessible, being on a small islet just south of Risay Island in Loch Luirbost. The dun seems to have consisted of walls built round the edge of the islet but which are now a mass of tumbled stone, 4m broad in places. A 1914 report on the site stated that many stones has been removed to Stornaway for building purposes.

Lewis and Harris by Francis Thompson.

Shawbost (Promontory Fort)

This promontory juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and is well placed for a defensive structure with outlooks to both north and south. It is joined to Lewis mainland by a narrow neck of land across which a massive stone wall has been erected, the stones of which are now a tumbled mass spread over an area which is nearly 9m wide in places, indicating the original strength of the structure. The entrance to the promontory was at the south end of the wall at a wide gap between the wall end and the cliff edge.

Lewis and Harris by Francis Thompson.

Garrabost (Kerbed Cairn)

This site is now a setting of seven kerbstones lying in a circle some 20m in diameter. The possible remains of the chamber consist of four large slabs and what could be a fallen capstone. The whole site has been badly robbed of its original material but is well worth a visit if only to appreciate the location of the monument and its setting.

Lewis and Harris by Francis Thompson.

Carn A' Mharc (Chambered Cairn)

This site is about 3km north west of Gress Lodge and described on the OS map as 'Carn a' Mharc'. It has been suggested that the site was levelled artificially in ancient times. The cairn itself consists of a mound of stones roughly 28m in diameter, with a kerb of boulders still discernible on the south-west edge. Some large slabs close by may have been part of the chamber and an entrance passage.

Lewis and Harris by Francis Thompson.

Dunan (Chambered Cairn)

This ruin is to the east of Aonghas Bridge and marked on the OS map as 'Dunan'. Hardly 1m above the ground, it is about 15m in diameter. Like many of its kind in the island it has been both disturbed and robbed. But enough survives to show a roughly circular chamber about 2m in diameter. A couple of large slabs may be part of the original roofing. Trying to identify an entrance passage is a more than difficult task but some large slabs and boulders on the south-west may give a clue to its former position.

Lewis and Harris by Francis Thompson.

Caisteal Mhic Creacail (Chambered Cairn)

This site is a scattered heap of stones overlooking Broad Bay. It is listed as a chambered cairn on account of the remains of erect stones with a broken capstone. On the OS map the site is called Caisteal Mhic Creacail, suggesting an ancient castle or fortification, or perhaps a later attempt to restore the site to create a defensive structure.

Lewis and Harris by Francis Thompson.

Clach Stei Lin (Stone Circle)

This is a 1.5m high standing stone, but is not entirely alone. A survey of the site carried out in 1914 identified a number of prostrate stones, some lying underneath a covering of peat, giving the impression that they were overthrown standing stones and probably part of an original circle.

'Lewis & Harris, History and Pre-history' by Francis Thompson.

Davie's Castle (Hillfort)

'The green track ahead brings us to commercial forestry and forges dead straight ahead for a couple of miles. Half a mile along is a second wonder. We plunge off road to our second fortress of the day - Davie's Castle. A glacial tummock above the Glen Burn was fortified (in the Iron Age - say 2500 years ago) - defended with a circuit of ditch and a low bank (originally topped with a wall or palisade). Not a major hillfort but a suitable place for a petty chief to asset status among his own dependants and to proclaim power to his envious neighbours.'

John Barrett Knock News - No. 112 June 2106.

Dundee Law (Hillfort)

the Law was the site of a vitrified hillfort probably occupied during the Bronze Age. Remains of a settlement were found where the road was built to the top of The Law in the 1920s. Over the centuries it has been occupied by the Picts and Scots.

Old Dundee (postcards of Dundee) by Andrew Cronshaw.

Cothiemuir Wood (Stone Circle)

Cothiemuir Hill - Aberdeenshire

Cothiemuir Hill natural burial ground is located on the Forbes Estate in rural Aberdeenshire and is rich in wildlife, history and heritage.

Lying at the western end of the Lord Throat's road, the ancient wooded hill rises from verdant land, through a belt of deciduous mixed woodland including Scots Pine, to a Neolithic stone circle that crowns it crest. Flanking the hill, beneath the slopes of Bennachie, newly planted trees shelter the burial glades. here, plots for natural burial or the internment of ashes can be reserved, giving mourners the space to connect with nature, and more importantly the people buried there.

From the pamphlet advertising natural burials.

(also a couple of nice photos of the stone circle)

Lord Arthur's Hill (Cairn(s))

This is also a name of a Scottish Reel (fiddle music) written in G Major. Composed by Alexander Walker it is part of the 'A Collection of Strathspeys, Reels and Marches' published in 1866.

Summerhouse Hill (Round Cairn)

In 1935 Yealand archaeologist Colonel Oliver North carried out a survey of the site. He plotted the position of 6 limestone boulders and demonstrated that 4 of them were on the circumference of a circle 460 feet in diameter. He also noted depressions in the ground which might have housed other stones from the circle. Two remaining stones could conceivably have formed part of an outer ring, and were both about 330 feet from the centre of the supposed monument. Colonel North detected what he thought might be a large ditch on the north-western side of the circle. And he speculated that some of the large stones used as foundations for the Rawlinson summerhouse might have been pillaged from the stone circle. Others have suggested that summerhouse was itself built upon a cairn.

There has never been an archaeological dig on the site and some experts are not convinced that the stones are anything other than lime-stone boulders randomly deposited by a retreating glacier. But Summerhouse Hill is an atmospheric place.

Leighton Moss Ice Age To Present Day by Andy Denwood (Published 2014)

Barrow Hill (Kerbed Cairn)

There are a few other reasons to suggest that Summerhouse Hill was special to the people who lived around Leighton Moss. A few hundred yards to the south east, down the slope towards the metalled road on Peter Hill, are the remains of a round kerbed cairn.

Set among the trees and difficult to spot at first, the cairn is less than 2 feet high but 40 feet across. It has a noticeable circular dent in its top where it was opened up more than 200m years ago. The celebrated London physician and sometime amateur antiquarian John Coakley Lettsom witness the excavation of the burial site in 1778.

Lettsom was a Quaker and the founder of the Medical Society of London. He was also a regular visitor at the home of Thomas Rawlinson, the Yealand merchant and shipowner. In an address to the Society of Antiquaries of London, Lettsom declared that on opening the cairn he had discovered 'an urn containing between 3 and 4 quarts of human bones' and 'a human skeleton, and a large glass bead of a blue colour above an inch in diameter'.

Sadly no trace remains of the bones or bead. And while the Bronze Age beaker sat for many years on a shelf at nearby Yealand Manor, local gossip has it that it was broken and thrown away by a superstitious house-maid. Interestingly, in his talk to fellow antiquarians Lettsom said that his dig took place on Barrow Hill - an old name for Summerhouse Hill - where there were 'many barrows of earth and stone'. And he added that since his own excavation other barrows had been opened and many human bones found.

Leighton Moss Ice Age To Present Day by Andy Denwood (Published 2014)
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Still doing the music, following that team, drinking far to much and getting lost in the hills! (Some Simple Minds, Glasvegas, Athlete, George Harrison, Empire Of The Sun, Nazareth on the headphones, good boots and sticks, away I go!)

(The Delerium Trees)

Protect your heritage!

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