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

Get the TMA Images feed
LesHamilton's Latest Posts

Latest Posts
Showing 1-50 of 1,330 posts. Most recent first | Next 50

Scotland (Country) — News

Archaeologists unearth amazing finds on Aberdeen bypass

Artefacts and structures found during archaeological excavations on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route project are shedding light on land use and settlement in the north east over the past 15,000 years, including Mesolithic pits, Roman bread ovens, prehistoric roundhouses and a cremation complex.

Full story here.

Monykebbuck (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Monykebbuck</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Monykebbuck</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Clune Wood (Ring Cairn) — Images

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

Clune Wood (Ring Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited: January 20, 2018

I have visited Clune Hill and its Recumbent Stone Circle more times than I can remember over the years. When time is limited, the forest walks surrounding this site provide atmospheric short excursions. But what seems to have escaped the notice of most contributors to TMA is the ring cairn immediately adjacent to the east of the RSC. A couple of photographs of the cairn do appear on the RSC page, but surprisingly, this site has hitherto received no fieldnote.

Clune Hill Ring Cairn extends some ten metres in width and rises to around ¾ metre in height, but because of the uneven nature of the terrain here—covered with tussocks of grass and heathery hummocks, not to mention the ever-encroaching bracken—only the neat central chamber catches the eye: the edges of the cairn are ill-defined and there is no outer kerb to be seen.

There is a fine image from 'Greywether' which shows the central chamber of the Ring Cairn in 2005 when it appeared to have recently been cleared of vegetation.

This chamber, largely overgrown by heather and bracken, particularly during the summer months, has been built of irregular, rounded stones, which are particularly prominent in the northeast quadrant. The almost continuous kerb consists of graded boulders which increase in size and height towards the southwest: the tallest kerbstone, at 0.8 metres in height, stands on the SSW and the smallest on the NE. There is a gap in the kerb towards its south, about three metres from the nearest stone of the RSC (orthostat No 4), but Aberdeenshire Council's website describes the ring cairn as 'incomplete', and states that there is no evidence for a passage leading to the cairn edge.

Alkmaar Paardenmarkt (Burial Chamber) — News

The excavation of the Paardenmarkt Alkmaar

In June-August 2010 large scale excavations were executed on the cemetery belonging to the monastery, an area now termed the Paardenmarkt, by Hollandia Archeologen in cooperation with Leiden University. During the course of nine weeks, the students from the former minor Human Osteoarchaeology excavated and cleaned over 180 single coffin burials and 20 secondary inhumations. Interestingly, also two mass graves dating to the Siege of Alkmaar with 9 and 22 individuals were encountered. All the remains are housed in the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University and are currently undergoing the osteological analysis.

Read more about this in English.

An Reidhean (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited: May 23, 2017

The existence of this 'possible' stone circle was announced following a Discovery and Excavation in Scotland exploration on Skye's Strathaird estate in 1998. Don't go expecting to see a monumental structure: like most of Skye's stone circles, there is really very little remaining.

The site is located half a kilometre north of the small community of Drinan, situated half-way down the western margin of Loch Slapin. To visit, step on to the moor immediately north of the cattle grid (on the road, just before entering Drinan) and head north for 450 metres, uphill of the fence (you will have to park down in the village). The walking is excellent on firm, short heather and there are no fences to cross.

Make for the slightly higher ground and look down. The circle occupies a conspicuous grassy spot in the otherwise dark heather of the moor, about 40 metres west of the fence line. Three earthfast stones stand on the southern arc of the slightly raised grassy oval: the rest of the perimeter is devoid of stones. A trickle of stream runs close by it.

This location is about 30 metres northwest of the Grid location quoted by Discovery and Excavation in Scotland. However, I don't consider this significant: after all, the Grid reference they gave for the Cuidrach Stone Setting in 1989 proved to be more than a hundred metres in error.


The walk to the site is rather featureless but, as the map above shows, there is a slight 'greening' of the vegetation where the small stream trickles down past the circle. Also, looking east towards the loch, you should be level with a band of trees that straddles the path to the cottage beyond.

An Reidhean (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>An Reidhean</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>An Reidhean</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>An Reidhean</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>An Reidhean</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>An Reidhean</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Rigg (Promontory Fort) — Fieldnotes

Visited: September 5, 2017

Though not highlighted on the OS Map, there is a lay-by at NC521581 just east of the A855 Portree to Staffin road, and this is the starting point for a visit to the remains of Rigg Promontory Fort. Be advised though, that this lay-by is deeply rutted - more like the surface of the Moon than a car-park. So drive with care.

From the lay-by, Rigg Fort is visible 130 metres below at the foot of a seriously steep, grassy hillside, as a triangular, grassy peninsula flanked on both sides by vertical 15 metre high cliffs. I would not recommend a descent unless you have a good head for heights, are an experienced hill walker and are equipped with stout hillwalking boots.

Nevertheless, the descent provides few terrors and the gradient, through grass and short bracken, can be eased by careful zigzagging on the way down. Remember: you will have to climb back up again, so a degree of fitness is essential.

The remains of Rigg fort consist of a wall, at least two metres thick, which completely cuts off the grassy peninsula. Only the inner and outer foundation courses, consisting of sturdy boulders, remain today, but it must have been a formidable barrier in its time. There is no sign of walling round the perimeter of the fort, but the vertical cliffs all around would have deterred any intruder. The peninsula abuts a narrow coastal plain where sheep graze today and where a community could have subsisted in isolation. A stream nearby would be a ready source of water.

There are distinct similarities between the Rigg Fort and Dun Grugaig near Glasnakille. Both fortifications consist of a thick wall that isolates a narrow, cliff-girt peninsula from the mainland. In the case of Dun Grugaig, there remains significant broch-like galleried architecture in the protecting wall, which in places stands four metres tall. At Rigg, the wall is reduced to its foundation level, but who knows what it might have looked like in its prime.

Rigg (Promontory Fort) — Images

<b>Rigg</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Rigg</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Rigg</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Rigg</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Rigg</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Rigg</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Rigg</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Rigg</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Dun Torvaig (Stone Fort / Dun) — Fieldnotes

Visited: September 5, 2017

Situated on the 120 metre summit of Ben Chrachaig, immediately north of Portree Bay, little structure remains of the tumbledown fort of Dun Torvaig.

The slopes of the hillside are a jungle of alternate woodland and thick bracken but easy access can be achieved by first following the coastal path from the Coolin Hills Hotel for several hundred metres, as far as the Viewpoint. Take the path up to the grassy Viewpoint, and you will find that it continues into the trees beyond, wending its way, in part via steps, through the trees and bracken, on to the summit plateau. The plateau is undulating, but the site of Dun Torvaig is a compact rocky knoll near its centre, guarded on the east by low cliffs.

There is a short stretch of walling still extant, two courses high, on the dun's western side, and a rather dilapidated entrance corridor to its south. Otherwise Dun Torvaig is little more than a mass of tumbled stone. Nonetheless, the views from this eyrie are superb, particularly towards the Storr, just nine kilometres to its north.

Dun Torvaig (Stone Fort / Dun) — Images

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

D43 Schimeres (Hunebed) — Images

<b>D43 Schimeres</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>D43 Schimeres</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>D43 Schimeres</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>D43 Schimeres</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>D43 Schimeres</b>Posted by LesHamilton

D43 Schimeres (Hunebed) — Fieldnotes

Visited: July 17, 2017

Revisiting this passage grave after a lapse of several years, I was fortunate to be able to view the stones in bright sunlight, though still to some extent shadowed by trees. But what struck me most was the redevelopment on Noordeinde nearby D43.

The 'Hunebed / Langgraaf' sign and the dirt road leading to the hunebed were no longer obvious as the property by the roadside had turned into a mini-estate, with expansive lawns and a surrounding hedge of trees and bushes.

I made my way to the junction of Noordeinde with Dopheide as previously, faced across the road, and was confronted with the view shown in the 'Maps / Plans / Diagrams' section. You have to walk a few paces up the paved entranceway until you at last see the dirt track that wends to your right, round the northern boundary of this property to the patch of woodland sheltering Hunebed D43 Schimmeres.

D45 Emmen (Emmerdennen) (Hunebed) — Images

<b>D45 Emmen (Emmerdennen)</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>D45 Emmen (Emmerdennen)</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>D45 Emmen (Emmerdennen)</b>Posted by LesHamilton

D50 Noord sleen (Hunebed) — Images

<b>D50 Noord sleen</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>D50 Noord sleen</b>Posted by LesHamilton

D50 Noord sleen (Hunebed) — Fieldnotes

Visited: July 17, 2017

On this, my third visit to the superb Hunebed D50 at Noord Sleen, I was at last blessed with warm summer weather and was able to enjoy the stones in glorious sunshine (last year heavy rain and gales forced me to retreat).

This excursion was pursued in a manner designed to allow several hours of pleasant woodland walking, and is one which I thoroughly recommend. I took the No 21 bus from Assen and alighted at the Voshaar bus halt, beside Recreation Center Rijmaaran (just south of the village of Schoonoord).

The walk started by entering the grounds of the Center and following the Hunebed sign directing visitors into the woodland and on to Hunebed D49 (the so-called Papeloze Kerk - blue marker). After inspecting the hunebed, I continued in the same direction for about 110 metres to a forestry road and headed south to Galgenberg, a large Bronze-Age burial mound (red marker).

From here, the walk continued through airy woodlands until the N381 highway was reached. Here a path leads left to a stile at the point where the woodland gives way to fields.

Cross the highway and straddle (or duck under) the single strand fence on the far side to gain the metalled road (Hunebedweg) leading to Hunebed D50, 400 metres farther on (green marker).

The total distance walked was just under 5 kilometres.

To complete my day, I continued south to the end of Hunebedweg and turned left along Zweelooerstraat into the village of Noord Sleen to catch the No 21 bus to Emmen, where I spent a further hour visiting Hunebed D43 Schimmeres (the langgraaf) and Hunebed D45 Emmerdennen.

Moray — News

Archaeologists discover Pictish remains at Moray fort

New Pictish remains have been discovered at a fort thought to have been largely destroyed by a 19th-century development.

Archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen uncovered a longhouse and an 1,100-year-old anglo Saxon coin in a dig at Burghead Fort near Lossiemouth, Moray.

Experts believe the fort was a significant seat of power within the Pictish Kingdom, dating between 500 CE and 1000 CE.

Read the STV News Report.

Kampsheide (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Images

<b>Kampsheide</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Kampsheide</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Kampsheide</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Kampsheide</b>Posted by LesHamilton
Showing 1-50 of 1,330 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.

My TMA Content: