Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Camster Cairns and the Hill O Many Stanes

The most famous Caithness Archaeological site must be Camster Cairns which date from around 3500 BC. They are thought to have been burial chambers and ritual sites. There are three cairns, one round cairn, one long cairn and one in ruins.

The cairns were excavated in 1865 and pieces of pottery, human skeletons, burnt bone and flint tools were found in the round cairn. Modern excavations were complete in the long cairn in 1980 and its roof and walls were repaired with the original stone which had been plundered to build a near by sheep pen.

A view of the long cairn.

Looking towards the long cairn from the door of the round cairn.

Inside the long cairn burial chamber.

I had to crawl in on all fours and I’m not so sure I would have been so keen if I had known about the skeletons that had once been buried in the chamber

The Hill O Many Stanes is another well known archaeological site. It consists of around 200 small stones set out in rows and dates from around 1900 BC. Its traditionally believed to have marked the battle field of two rival clans, the Keiths and the Gunns. The Gunns won the battle and set up the memorial by burying the dead of both sides in rows and placing a stone at the head of each warrior.

Im not sure why but I always feel quite young after visiting these ancient monuments.

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