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

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Ardnaw (Kerbed Cairn) — Images (click to view fullsize)

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Dun Fhuarlit (Kerbed Cairn) — Images

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Kilmory Knap Chapel (Bullaun Stone) — Images

<b>Kilmory Knap Chapel</b>Posted by drewbhoy<b>Kilmory Knap Chapel</b>Posted by drewbhoy

Perth and Kinross — News

Crannog Centre rises from the ashes three years after fire


Rich Hiden's voice was shaking as he spoke to BBC Radio Scotland in June 2021.

More info :

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-68661012

Loch Pityoulish (Crannog) — Folklore

This loch, situated between the River Spey and the foothills of the Cairngorms, has an eerie reputation. It is said to harbour a water-horse, which, in defiance of the "each uisge" tradition, is black in colour. This animal is believed to inhabit a sunken "crannog" or prehistoric loch-dwelling, the site of which at the bottom of the loch can be seen on calm days deep down through the clear water.

According to local tradition, the black horse appeared one day many years ago to the young heir to the Barony Of Kincardine as he played with other children at the side of the loch - as a coal-black steed decked out with a silver saddle, silver bridle and silver reins. The boys grasped the reins, which galloped off with them to the loch, and only the young heir remained lived to tell of the encounter, as he alone had had the presence of mind to free his fingers from the reins with a knife.


R MacDonald Robertson - Highland Folktales

Must Farm Logboats — News

Bronze Age 'recycling bin' found at quarry site


The discovery of a 3,000-year-old "recycling bin" used to collect broken objects shows that people from that era were "not very different to us", an expert said.

More info :

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/c13d5yl6kj4o

Dun Ghallain (Stone Fort / Dun) — Folklore

A local chieftain fell in low with a beautiful but low-born maiden. His mother. opposing the match, caused the girl to be transformed by magic into a swan, which the chief, when out hunting, shot (by arrow) and killed. He was horror-struck to see the swan at the moment of its death resume the form of his beloved. Overcome with grief, he fell on his own sword, and the lovers are said to still lie together beneath the ruined walls of Dun Ghallian.

Exploring Sunart, Arnamurchan, Moidart and Morar

Giants' Graves (Chambered Cairn) — Folklore

Two neighbouring chambered cairns on Whiting Bay on Arran are known as the Giants' Graves (although some sources record only one Giant's Grave). It is possible that the giant or giants concerned have something to do with the following tradition.

The Name of this Isle is by some derived from Arran, which in the Irish language signifies Bread: Others think it comes more probably from Arjn or Arfyn, which in their language is as much, as the Place of the Giant fin-Ma-Cowls Slaughter or Execution...the received Tradition of the great Giant Fin-Ma-Cowls Military Valour, which he exercised upon the Ancient Natives here, seems to favour this Conjecture; this they say is evident from the many Stones set up in diverse Places of the Isle, as Monuments upon the Graces of Persons of Note that were killed in Battle.

Martin Martin 1695

Kildalloig (Stone Fort / Dun) — Folklore

A small conical hill at Kildalloig had a circle around the top, most likely the remains of a dun, once upon a time the lair of a huge serpent that devoured sheep and cattle in large quantities.

At last the deliverer arose. A man engaged to fight the serpent on condition that a barn which stood were the ship-building yard now is, should be placed at his disposal.

The barn was at once given to him. Causing a quantity of hay to be placed in it, he rode off to do battle with the serpent. On arriving at the mound he found the serpent asleep. Riding up to it, he dealt it a tremendous blow with his sword.

Although terribly wounded the beast followed hard after him. On coming to the shore, he plunged his horse into the sea and swam across the loch. By the time he reached the other side the beast was close in his heels. Riding into the barn by one door, he rapidly rode out the other, shutting it immediately behind him. Round he rode to the one which the dragon had entered by, and had the satisfaction of seeing the serpents's tail disappearing into the barn, and they had the monster fast. They then set fire to the barn, and burned the dragon to death.


Lord Archibald Campbell 1895

Kildalloig (Stone Fort / Dun) — Links

Canmore


Aerial photographs are interesting.

Blackfaulds Stone Circle — Fieldnotes

After visiting the cairn at Williamston / Tammieteeth I kept heading north west until a farm track that headed north east.

Jump the dyke, chances are if you jump far enough you'll end up landing in the site. 10 stones remain, perhaps only 2 remain upright, 8 of them are taking a rest.

Nice way to finish the day.

Visited 05/01/2024.

Williamston (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

From Ardgilzean, I headed north on the A93 taking the first minor road east at Newmiln Cottages. Take the first minor road that heads north west, go past St Martin's Mill, look for clump with tees on top in a field to the west.

Fortunately some frost remained which made the ground easy to walk on. Unlike Ardgilzean, it hasn't been invaded badly by field clearance. There is some, but much of the original cairn is visible.

It is 12m wide and almost 1m tall, a wall that surrounded the site is in a very ruinous condition.

With darkness on its way it was a good time to visit as the sun hadn't vanished, instead the light seemed perfect for visiting, almost an otherworldly feel.

Visited 05/01/2024.

Craig Dorney (Hillfort) — News

No protection for historic Aberdeenshire hill fort threatened by wind farm.


Historic Environment Scotland ruled that plans for a wind farm were 'too advanced' to change the designation of the Craig Dorney hill fort site to one of 'national importance, despite new evidence.

More info :

https://www.aberdeenlive.news/news/aberdeen-news/no-protection-historic-aberdeenshire-hill-9174705

One of my favourite sites, always a privilege to visit. Aberdeen Live have even pinched one my photographs!!!

Machrie Moor (Stone Circle) — Folklore

In the Moor on the East-side Druin-cruey there is a circle f stones, the Area is about thirty Paces; there is a Stone of same shape and kind about forty Paces to the West of the Circle, the Natives say that this Circle was made by the giant Fin-Mac-Cowl, and that to the single Stone Bran-Fin-Mac-Cowls Hunting dog was usually tied......There is a circle of Big-stones to the South of Druin Cruey, the Area of which about is twelve Paces; there is a broad thin Stone in the middle of this Circle, supported by three lesser Stones, the Ancient inhabitants are reported to have burnt their Sacrifices on the broad Stone, in the time of Heathenism.

Martin Martin 1695

Pointhouse (Chambered Cairn) — Folklore

The cairn covered the remains of a great hero. He was wont to wear a belt of gold, which, being charmed, protected him on the field of battle. One day, however, as he rode a-hunting accompanied by his sister, the maid, coveting the golden talisman, prevailed upon him to lend it to her. While thus unprotected he was killed - whether by enemies or mischance the attenuated tradition does not clearly indicate; and this cairn marked the warrior's grave

James King Hewison 1893

Ardgilzean Cottage (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

With night fast approaching I headed for the huge cairn at Ardgilzean. After being given permission to park I made my way, west, along the farm track. Today the cairn stands at 32m wide and is 2.5m tall (I would think they should add a meter to that. Sadly most of the visible stones are tonnes upon tonnes of field clearance. Not much of the original cairn can be seen.

The north / south east has best views of what originally stood. Future years will, no doubt, see these parts covered up as well.

Still the night hasn't fallen completely, so a chance to visit a couple of nearby sites.

Visited 05/01/2024.

Kilspindie (Stone Row / Alignment) — Fieldnotes

Three fallen stones, two with cup marks, make up this stone row.

The east stone has a clearly visible cup mark, the west stone has 3 well worn cup marks, and the middle stone missed out on the rock art.

Nearby woods have more cup marked rocks, another day for them.

Visited 05/01/2024.

Kilspindie (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

I parked mid-way between Oliverbank and Arnbathie Cottages near a small wood. Heading straight south I jumped the fence and headed straight for site(s). A nice gentle climb.

The four poster is near a fallen stone row and consists of two larger stones and two earthfast smaller stones, along with some field clearance.

Not much to look at but the cup marks and stone row make it an interesting place to visit.

Great views to south, to north east Law Hill Fort.

Visited 05/01/2024.

Danesborough Camp (Enclosure) — News

Buckinghamshire ancient hill fort 'under attack' by cyclists


Cyclists are damaging an ancient hill fort, a councillor has claimed.

More info :

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-68576664

Lundin Links (Standing Stones) — Folklore

At a little distance westward from Largo, in the middle of a park on the north side of the road, is the celebrated curiosity called 'The Standing Stanes O' Lundie.' Three tall straight sharp stones, resembling whales jaws more than any thing else, rear themselves at the distance of a few yards from each other, and, though several yards high, are supposed to pierce the ground to same depth. According to the common people, they are monuments to the memory of three Danish generals slain here in battle; but it is more probable they are of Roman origin, it being the site of a Roman town.


Robert Chambers, 1827

Murthly Castle (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Folklore

Near Murthly, north of Perth, there is a standing stone of which the tradition is that a man brave enough to move it would find a chest with a black dog sitting on it, guarding it. it is said that the schoolmaster's sons once shifted the stone with gunpowder but were terrified by the dog so put the stone back again. Katherine Briggs gives this

'on the authority of the Rev. Routledge Bell, who had it from one of his parishioners.'

The stone to which the tradition refers is probably Murthly Castle Standing Stone, Little Dunkeld. It is unusual to find a dog among supernatural treasure-guardians which are far more often birds, including eagles, and black cocks or hens, although the fairytale The Tinderbox features three guardian dogs, each progressively larger until the third has

'eyes as big as mill-wheels'

The colour black is generally the sign of a diabolic presence, but in England phantom Black Dogs could sometimes perform a protective function to travellers on lonely roads.

The Lore Of Scotland - A Guide To Scottish Legends

Westwood & Kingshill

Macduff's Cross (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Folklore

Near Newburgh once stood Macduff's Cross, a 'rude upright stone'. The common legend, recorded by Robert Chambers in 1827, was that Malcolm Canmore endowed Macduff, Thane Of Fife, with three privileges, in recognition of his help in deposing Macbeth. First, he and his heirs should have the honour of placing the crown on the king's head at any coronation; secondly, whenever the royal standard was displayed in battle they should lead the vanguard of the army;

'and, lastly, that any person related to him within the ninth degree of kindred, having committed homicide without premeditation, should, upon flying to this obelisk and paying a certain fine, obtain remission of his crime'.

The cross was said to retain its sacred character almost until the Reformation, when it was demolished as a relic of popery; anyone who is interested, says Chambers,

'may still see the block of stone in which it was fixed, together with many tumuli, or mounds, said to contain the bodies of such refugees as, having failed to prove their consanguinity to Macduff, were sacrificed on the spot by their enraged pursuers'.

The block or pedestal can still be seen, in the field between the roads leading to Easter Lumbennie and Auchternuchty.

The privilege was invoked successfully at least once, if we believe the horror story of John Melville's death at Glenbervie, Aberdeenshire, when the laird of Arbuthnott claimed immunity on this account.

Robert Chambers

Burrow Head (Promontory Fort) — Folklore

The sun was setting on a fine summer's evening and the peasantry were returning from labour, when, on the side of a green hill, appeared a procession of thousands of apparently little boys, habited in mantles of green, freckled with light. One, taller than the rest, ran before them, and seemed to enter the hill, and again appeared at its summit. This was repeated three times, and all vanished. The peasantry, who beheld it, called, 'The Fareweel o' the Fairies to the Burrow Hill'.

Remains Of Nithsdale and Galloway Song (1810) by R. H. Cromek

Over Durdie (Hillfort) — Links

Canmore


Superb aerial photography.

Over Durdie (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Not much remains of the fort at Over Durdie but what a place it must have been if aerial photography is anything to go by.

After the misfortunes of hunting for cairns in the lower regions of Pole Hill, I headed over to Over Durdie where I was given permission to park by the owners.

From the farm I headed east, downhill then uphill via jumping a couple of fences. Not much of the ramparts remain, a broken circular rampart barely exists (bits have been ploughed out), a small patch of erosion shows some stonework, on the south the remains of a wall can be seen. The forts interior is featureless, however there are a load of sites on the other side of the River Tay that can be seen.

After the battering of gorse, furze, anything that has jabby stuff it was good to get some proper walking done.

Worth a look.

Visited 05/01/2024.

Law Hill (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

NO1722126230

The best preserved of the hut circles. Follow the route to Law Hill Hillfort and this will be the first hut circle seen. Walls are at least 2m wide and stand at an average height of 0.4m, many stones still sit in place, with the entrance in the north west.

NO1708326185

On the slopes leading to the fort, sadly has field clearance or the remains of other hut circles dumped inside. It still stands at 11m wide with walls at almost 4m wide, 0.5m tall. The probable entrance is on the east.

NO1706726257

The furthest north of the hut circles that I visited before darkness descended. It is almost 13m wide and has a well defined wall. What I thought might be an entrance on the west is probably recent damage.

There are a few more hut circles in the area, however by the time I reached the car it was getting dark. A good time to be heading home.

Visited 29/12/2023.

Wiltshire — News

American recreates bronze age necklace from Wiltshire Museum pictures


A woman who lives more than 4,000 miles away from Wiltshire has recreated an ancient necklace from the county.

More info :

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-68316993

Stonehenge and its Environs — News

Stonehenge tunnel campaigners vow to keep fighting


Campaigners have vowed to continue their fight against a proposed road tunnel on the A303 near Stonehenge.

More info :

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-68348523

Stonehenge tunnel: Campaigners lose High Court challenge


Campaigners have lost a High Court challenge against renewed plans to build a road tunnel near Stonehenge.

Sadly more info :

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-68338484

Essex — News

'Exceptional' hoard of Bronze Age axe heads found in Essex


The "exceptional" condition of a hoard of 10 Bronze Age axes discovered by a detectorist has surprised an expert.

More info :

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-68293004

King Coil's Grave (Cairn(s)) — Folklore

Speaking of Coylton, on the Water Of Coyle, the Statistical Account Of Scotland (1798) says;

'There is a tradition, though it is believed, very ill-founded', that the village derives its name from a King Coilus who was killed in battle in the neighbourhood and buried in the church here. Fergus Loch, to the west of the church, 'is supposed by some to take its name from King Fergus, who defeated Coel King Of The Britons in the adjacent field'.

According to others, however, the battle was fought in the parish of Tarbolton, and they pointed to the slabs of stone covering a burial mound known as King Coil's Tomb in the grounds of Coilsfield House. The tomb is probably the cairn marked near Coilsfield Mains on modern maps.

The site was investigated in May 1837 by the minister of the parish, the Reverend David Ritchie, whose report went into the New Statistical Account 1845. The excavations unearthed a circular flagstone covering another, smaller stone which itself covered the mouth of an urn filled with white coloured burned bones. Other urns were found nearby, and though no coins, armour or other implements were discovered, Ritchie notes:

An old man remembers that his father, then a tenant on the Coilsfield estate, turned up pieces of ancient armour and fragments of bone when ploughing the 'Dead-Men's-Holm.'

Reverend David Ritchie 1845

Rubers Law (Hillfort) — Folklore

A poor man from Jedburgh was on his way to one of the sheep markets held at Hawick at the end of every year to sell off sheep for slaughter. As he was passing over the side of 'Rubislaw' nearest the Teviot he was suddenly alarmed by a frightful and unaccountable noise which seemed to come from a multitude of female voices. He could see nothing of the speakers but heard the howling and wailing mingled with shouts of mirth and merriment, and he made out the words,

'O there's a bairn born, there's naething to pit on't.'

The outcry was evidently occasioned by the birth of a fairy child, at which most of the fairy women rejoiced, while a few lamented the lack of anything to wrap the baby in.

Much astonished at finding himself in the midst of invisible beings in a wild moorland place, far from help should help be needed, the poor man, hearing the lament over and over again, stripped off his plaid and threw it on the ground. No sooner had he done so, than it was snatched up by an invisible hand, and the lamentations ceased, but the sounds of joy redoubled.

Guessing that he had pleased the invisible beings, the poor man lost no time in continuing on his way to Hawick market. There he bought a sheep which proved a remarkably bargain, and returned to Jedburgh. He never had cause to regret the loss of his plaid, for every day after that his wealth multiplied and he died a rich and prosperous man.

Folk-Lore And Legends: Scotland (1889)

Aquhorthies (Stone Circle) — Folklore

A special type of stone circle known as 'recumbent' is to be found in this part of the country (aka Aberdeenshire), distinguished by a massive block lying flat and flanked by two upright stones. A good example is found here, near Banchory-Devenick. It is said that a local man removed one of the stones to serve as a hearthstone, but was afterwards so disturbed by strange noises that he put it back where he found it. Similar stories are told of many stone circles, but a more unusual tale concerning Aquhorthies is given in an 1813 agricultural survey:

Close to the principle druidical circle there are two parks of extraordinary fertility, although much incumbered with large masses of stone interspersed through them. The ground of these parks has been long remarked for its productiveness; that in the time of the Picts, soil had been brought to these parks, all the way from Findon, a distance of two miles; and that this was done by ranging a line of men along the whole distance, who handed the earth from one to another

It was remarked in 1985 that the fields around the Aquhorthie circle still have some of the best soil in the area.

The Lore Of Scotland - A Guide To Scottish Legends

Westwood & Kingshill

Law Hill (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

From Shien Hill I headed, west, retracing my easily found steps in the track or mudbath until I reached a track heading south. Follow this until some trees, then follow the fence heading west. A gentle climb to a small ridge gives a superb view of the hillfort plus a couple of hut circles.

I approached through the north entrance which is lined by two small dry stane dykes (the borders of the probable main entrance), cutting through several defences. 5 ramparts plus a cheveaux de frise protect the north, it being the most easiest climb. Entrances can also be found to east, west (very steep) and south. The southern entrance appears to have been quarried almost out of existence.

A 6m wide wall surrounds the hilltop, protecting the 154m by 90m site, the best remnants are on the north west.

A much easier climb than Evelick.

Visited 29/12/2023.

Arnbathie (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

The Arnbathie cairn is situated on the highest point of Law Hill, which is also the highest point of the hillfort. Some stonework remains on the North East and along with, perhaps, a very earthfast sunken kerb.

At just over 7.0m wide and 0.5m tall the cairn is grass covered, superb views as the winter's sun begins to fade.

Visited 29/12/2023.

Green Cairn (Hillfort) — Folklore

The large Iron Age ring fort of Green Castle, otherwise known as Queen's Castle or Finella's Castle, is said to have been the site of an early medieval fortress, seat of the maomor or 'great officer' of the Mearns. Here, it was said, Kenneth III was assassinated towards the end of the tenth century. The antiquarian Robert Chambers, writing in 1827, gives an account of the murder drawn from the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century chronicles:

Having excited the implacable hatred of a powerful lady, named Fenella, by killing her son in a rebellion, she put on a courteous face, and invited him to her castle, where she had prepared a singular engine, for the purpose of putting him to death. Under pretence of amusing him with the architectural elegance of her mansion, she conducted him to the upper apartment of a tall tower, where, in the midst of splendid drapery and curious sculptures, she had planted a statue of brass, holding a golden apple. This apple, she told him, was designed as a present for his majesty, and she courteously invited him to take it from the hand of the image. No sooner had the king done this, then some machinery was set in motion, which, acting upon an ambuscade of crossbows behind the arras, caused a number of arrows to traverse the apartment, by one of which killed the king.

Fenella left the castle before the murder was discovered by the king's attendants, who broke down the door and found their master weltering in his blood.

It was said that Fenella made for another castle of hers at a wild place on the coast called, Den-Fenella. Being pursued, she concealed herself amongst the branches of the trees, and as thick forest stretched all the way from one castle to the other, she was able to swing herself along for a distance of about ten miles, and pass over the very heads of her bewildered pursuers. Different accounts can be found of what happened to her after that: some say she was captured and burned, some that she was at last brought to bay near Lauriston Castle, where she chose death over captivity and threw herself from the crags onto the rocks beneath, while a third version holds that she escaped to Ireland.

The Lore Of Scotland - A Guide To Scottish Legends

Westwood & Kingshill
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Still doing the music, following that team and getting lost in the hills! (Some Simple Minds, Glasvegas, Athlete, George Harrison, Empire Of The Sun, Riverside, Porcupine Tree, Nazareth, The Avalanches, Public Service Broadcasting on the headphones, good boots and sticks, away I go!)

Turriff, Aberdeenshire

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