The Giant's Grave
These mysterious stones form the chamber of a burial cairn built by the Neolithic beaker people in the early Bronze Age (5,700 to 5,000 years ago). This site on the Arran, an island off the West coast of Scotland, is probably older than Stonehenge and much older than the great pyramids.
What you see today is the internal remnant of a massive cairn structure built by these impressive people. The chamber is 22ft long and 5-3 ft wide and would have been the final resting place for bones and cremation urns. Evidence suggest that bodies were ‘left to nature’ for a period then the bones were cremated and inurned in highly decorated pots in the cairn.
Whilst heavily robbed over the ages, modern excavations found arrowheads, flint knives, bone and beaker pottery sherds that date the cairn. The cairn was a massive man-made hill of stones built over the burial chamber that was a 70-90 ft wide and up to 15 ft high. The structure is known as a horned galley grave or Clyde long cairn, as it has a large horseshoe-like shape with a 40 ft wide forecourt. The forecourt was probably used for mass cremations and celebrations of the ancestors at key times of the year.
The cairn is sited on a hill overlooking Whiting Bay and Holy Isle and would have been a massive symbol of power and belonging. Today, the site is mysterious and eerie but a recent clearing of the surrounding forest has opened up the commanding view, making this a special place to visit.
Read more about the chambered cairns of Arran at the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework website, where you can see superb reconstructions.
- The Giant's Grave
- © 2016, Adam West, All Rights Reserved
- Image Size
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- Contained in galleries
- Scotland - Arran