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

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Dun Vallerain (Hillfort) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Dun Vallerain</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Dun Vallerain</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Dun Vallerain</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Dun Vallerain</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Dun Vallerain</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Dun Vallerain</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Dun Vallerain (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Visited: May 21, 2017

Dun Vallerain stands atop an impressinve, steep conical hill, a little to the west of the tiny community of An Digg. About 70 metres north of the junction where the service road from the A855 enters An Digg, a good track leads west to a white-walled house.

From the start of this path, head slightly left over easy grass till you reach a gate to the moors, just to the left of the house. From here Dun Vallerain looks daunting, rising steeply to crags that gird its summit.

Here, turn to the right and follow a good path that initially heads north towards Loch Vallerain, then starts to contour leftward around the hill, finally petering out when the slope eases on the west flank of the hill. Now make your way up the final grassy incline to the fort.

There is not a great deal left in situ on Dun Vallerain: around its margins stand several short stretches of walling two to three courses high while on the east, abutting the crags, is the remains of a wall standing up to five courses tall. The summit of the hill, precipitous on most sides, is grassed over and shows little evidence of any walling.

Cullernie (Ring Cairn) — Links

Archaeology Data Service

'Descriptive notes on the stone circles of Strathnairn and neighbourhood of Inverness' by James Fraser (PSAS May 12, 1884).

Blacktop (Cup Marked Stone) — Images

<b>Blacktop</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Blacktop</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Blacktop</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Blacktop (Cup Marked Stone) — Fieldnotes

Visited: May 2, 2017

This fine prehistoric example of rock art, a granite boulder over a metre tall, bears over 30 cup-marks on its east-facing surface. On my visit, it was shortly after noon, and the oblique illumination showed the cup-marks to best effect.

Access is by the drive leading to Treetops House. As you approach the house, you pass a tall hedge on your left till finally a grassy path leads left into the field beyond. From here, follow the path for a few metres and look left behind the hedge, where you will see the stone.

The position of the stone is shown by the red marker on the map below.

You can read more about this site on The Aberdeen City website.

Rubh an Dunain (Broch) — Images

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Rubh an Dunain (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Visited: May 19, 2012

The Rubh an Dunain promontory semi-broch is a classic site of its type. All that remains to be seen nowadays is a well built drystone wall, 3½ metres tall, that separates the level tip of the promontory from its hinterland. Probably walling was never required around its perimeter, as it is defended by sheer cliffs on all other sides.

You can read an extensive treatise on this site at Canmore.

To access the broch requires a delightful 5½ kilometre walk from the Glen Brittle Campsite, along the southern shore of Loch Brittle, mainly on well-defined paths. Stream crossing can be a problem in wet conditions, but on a sunny day the walk is most enjoyable.

After visiting the broch, further interest is afforded by the Chambered Cairn close to the northwest corner of Loch na h-Airde.

But the highlight of the day is certainly the return walk towards the Campsite, facing the Cuillin Mountains, surely one of the most scenic coastal excursions in Scotland.

Loch na h-Airde and the 'Viking Canal'
Immediately below the broch is an artificial channel 100 metres long that links Loch na h-Airde with the sea. Believed to date from the Viking era, this enabled small boats to harbour in the loch at high tide (mediaeval boat timbers were discovered on the northern edge of the loch in 2000 and 2008).

It's a fascinating story, which is related in detail at Canmore

Further Reading

Rubh an Dunain Data Structure Report 2009

Kilmore (Christianised Site) — Images

<b>Kilmore</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Migvie (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Fieldnotes

Visited: April 10, 2017

Following Drew's rediscovery of the Migvie Cupmarked Stone, I took the first opportunity to check it out for myself.

On the map below, the orange marker points to the stone's original location (where it had lain for over a century), and the red marker indicates its new location within the confines of the kirkyard. The blue marker indicates Migvie kirk.

Clune Wood (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited: April 7, 2017

Just a short distance east from Clune Hill Stone Circle lie several cairns.

Canmore states: "At least four cairns were recorded in mature woodland just E of the stone circle and ring cairn. They seem to be associated with ceremonial monuments rather than being the products of clearance."

This map shows the 10 metre OS reference square (green rectangle) and the position of the stone circle (blue marker).

The ground here is extremely hummocky, most of the small mounds being either moss-covered tree stumps of mature grassy tussocks. Additionally, almost everything was covered by dead bracken and the usual forestry detritus. In the event, I located just one likely candidate for a cairn.

The mound in the photographs, though, was made of sterner stuff: measuring approximately 2½×1½ metres and not far short of a metre in height, it proved to be solid. And although no evidence of a kerb was visible, probing around its base did hit stone at a couple of locations.

Clune Wood (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Clune Wood</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Clune Wood</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Nieuwigein (Burial Chamber) — Images

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Nieuwigein (Burial Chamber) — Fieldnotes

6000 Year Old Skeletons Unearthed in Nieuwigein
(Nieuwegein is a municipality and city just south of the Dutch city of Utrecht)

During the construction of 'Het Klooster' Business Park in Nieuwigein during the summer of 2016, archaeological research was undertaken, mainly by drilling cores to locate potential sites of interest.

These cores showed evidence of a possible stone age site covering some 6,500 square metres, and trial trenching followed by excavation took place through November and December. This revealed a site that gave a virtually undisturbed picture of habitation during the Swifterbant Culture (5300 BCE to 3400 BCE). Sites of this period are rare, and finds here included almost 800 pieces of worked flint, chisels of animal bone, a piece of grinding stone and decorated pottery, including three fairly intact pots, complete with leftovers from meals.

Of particular note was a fine jet ornament which had been pierced with a flint tool for wearing as a pendant. Jet is not found in The Netherlands, so this piece must have been imported, most probably from England or France.

The highlight in terms of finds were three human skeletons buried in a thick layer of clay. Uniquely for The Netherlands, the bones were all well preserved because they had been surrounded by wet clay, and not sand as is more usual in this part of Europe.

In December 2016, the almost complete skeleton of a man, accompanied by leg bones and a jaw which could have been from a juvenile or a woman were unearthed. And not far away was a skull, probably belonging to the latter.

Then, in late January 2017, in another part of the site, archaeologists discovered a third Stone Age grave, which proved to be a milestone in Nieuwegein history, because it was a fully intact male skeleton dating from around 4000 BCE.

All the skeletons were excavated in blocks of the surrounding clay and taken to Stichting RAAP (Netherlands Archaeological Agency) in Leiden for detailed examination.

It is intended that the finds will eventually be put on display to the public.

You can view an 8 minute YouTube video which illustrates the discovery of these skeletons. Although the commentary is in Dutch, the images speak for themselves.

Alkmaar Paardenmarkt (Burial Chamber) — Images

<b>Alkmaar Paardenmarkt</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Alkmaar Paardenmarkt</b>Posted by LesHamilton

The Netherlands (Country) — News

6000 Year Old Intact Skeleton found in Nieuwegein

Nieuwegein is a municipality and city in the Dutch province of Utrecht.

It was reported on January 31, 2017 that, in a thick layer of clay on the site of a new business park in Nieuwegein, archaeologists had found a nearly intact skeleton dating from approximately 6000 years ago. The location had already yielded pots and jewellery from the Swifterbant Culture (5300-3400 BCE), named after the village of Swifterbant in the Flevopolder, where the first finds were made.

Although the skeleton looks almost intact, it is remarkable that the bones are not all in their logical positions. Why the skeletal parts have been moved out of anatomical context is unclear: possibly they became disorganised through earth movements.

The original Dutch Report includes a photograph of the cast in which the skeleton was removed.

Here's another illustrated report with a photograph showing archaeologists uncovering a third skeleton from the site.

Alkmaar Paardenmarkt (Burial Chamber) — Fieldnotes

This is a follow-up to the News Item by 'Sweetcheat'

A 2010 excavation of the remains of a Franciscan monastery that stood below Alkmaar's present-day Paardenmarkt between 1448 to 1574, uncovered a mass grave dating from 1573, the year when Alkmaar was besieged by the Spaniards.

But more excitingly, further research below a layer of drift sand revealed a unique prehistoric tomb dating back to the Iron Age - around 700 BCE.

The sandy soils of the Netherlands rarely preserve remains of this age (not even bones), but remarkably, a silhouette was discovered, in the customary squatting interment position of that era. The silhouette was protected by a coating of lacquer and removed in its entirety for preservation.

You can refer to the original story in the final paragraph of this report (in Dutch / illustrated).

Alkmaar Paardenmarkt (Burial Chamber) — Images

<b>Alkmaar Paardenmarkt</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Den Wood (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

Visited: March 13, 2017

Canmore visited this site in late 2002 and reported a scatter of small cairns. But the forest floor here is a dense jumble of debris ranging from twigs to fallen branches and stumps of an earlier generation of trees making it hard to detect anything. Small cairns could easily be missed.

I used the path shown on Canmore's map as a guide and did discover a likely candidate for a cairn about 7 to 8 metres north of the path. This elevated area was around 4 metres wide, under half a metre tall and surrounded by several earthfast stones to its south and east suggestive of the remnants of a kerb.

Unfortunately, even on 'Power Search', my camera was unable to check the GPS coordinates.

A challenge, perhaps, for Drew with his GPS compass!

Den Wood (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Images

<b>Den Wood</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Den Wood</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Corrybeg (Stone Circle) — Links


Since my visit, Canmore has paid a field visit to Corrybeg.

They explain that the site is said to have been discovered by Alexander Keiller, who performed an excavation leading to the discovery of cremated bones.

But they consider that there is no evidence to suggest that apparent supporting stones in the hollow against the north face of the ENE stone were deliberately emplaced.

Embo (Chambered Cairn) — Links

Archaeology Data Service

Link to the 1960 excavation report for the Embo Chambered Cairn, in PSAS volume 96.

Duntulm (Stone Fort / Dun) — Images

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D29 Buinen (Hunebed) — Images

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Showing 1-50 of 1,175 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
A keen hillwalker most of my life, my interest was restricted when the need arose to care for an ageing parent.

With limited opportunities to travel far from home, I 'discovered' the world of stone circles, mainly in my native Aberdeenshire.

This provided the ideal opportunity for short walks of just a few hours duration, and resulted in me visiting many places of interest that I had never considered previously.

Stone Circles of NE Scotland
Here you will find both Google and Bing maps displaying more than 100 sites of stone circles, the majority in my native Aberdeenshire. The markers on the maps are clickable, to reveal a photo of the stone circle and a link to RCAHMS-Carnmore's Site Record.

A menu at the side of the maps allows you to zoom in to any individual circle, viewing its environs as a zoomable aerial photograph (Google) or an OS Map (Bing).

I've since extended my interest to the megalithic remains in The Netherlands, where there are some magnificent passage graves known as hunebedden (giant's beds). Despite the fact that The Netherlands is essentially flat and sandy, these 5000 year old monuments from the Funnel Beaker Culture are often found in exquisite woodland settings, nearly all of them in the province of Drenthe. There are almost limitless opportunities for delightful walks between small villages, taking in a diversion to a hunebed here and there.

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