Link to printer-friendly page

Record details

ID:MHG3013
Type of record:Monument
Name:North east cairn, Balnuaran of Clava
Feedback:

Images

Site visit, February 2004 (photo by Kirsty Cameron)  © Highland CouncilSite visit, February 2004 (photo by Kirsty Cameron)  © Highland CouncilSite visit, February 2004 (photo by Kirsty Cameron)  © Highland CouncilSite visit, February 2004 (photo by Kirsty Cameron)  © Highland CouncilSite visit, February 2004 (photo by Kirsty Cameron)  © Highland CouncilSite visit, February 2004 (photo by Kirsty Cameron)  © Highland CouncilClava cupmarks (photo by Douglas Scott)  © Douglas ScottNorth east cairn from the air (photo by Douglas Scott)  © Douglas Scott© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for details© Marc HindleyMidwinter sunset, north east passage cairn (photo by Douglas Scott)  © Douglas Scott© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for detailsMidwinter sunset  © Douglas Scott, 1994Clava Cairns nr Culloden (photo by CaptainOates via Flickr)  © All Rights ReservedMidwinter sun setting in line with the NE cairn (photo by Douglas Scott)  © Douglas ScottMHG3013 Northeast Cairn (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilMHG3013 Northeast cairn (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilMHG4366 and MHG3013 Central cairn and northeast cairn (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilCairns from southwest cairn MHG3002 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilNortheast cairn MHG3013 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilClava midwinter sunset (photo by Douglas Scott)  © Douglas Scott

Reports

Extract from The Archaeology and Prehistoric Annals of Scotland, 1851  © Daniel Wilson (File size: 55 KB)Colour photographs - midwinter soltice experiment and excavations  © Ronnie Scott (File size: 2069 KB)Plan  © Douglas Scott (File size: 78 KB)Archaeological experiment at Balnuaran of Clava NE cairn  © Ronnie Scott, 1998 (File size: 346 KB)The Lunar Aligned Passages of the Clava Cairns  © Douglas Scott (File size: 79 KB)Fieldwork report, 1995-6 season  © University of Bradford/Richard Bradley (File size: 715 KB)Excavation at Balnuaran of Clava, 1994-5  © University of Bradford/Richard Bradley (File size: 630 KB)An Astronomical Assessment of the Clava Cairns  © Douglas Scott (File size: 165 KB)Notes on Clava Cairns excavations  © University of Bradford (File size: 52 KB)Colour photographs  © C B Yuill, 1998 (File size: 5188 KB)
Grid Reference:NH 7576 4447
Map Sheet:NH74SE
Civil Parish:CROY AND DALCROSS
Geographical Area:INVERNESS

Monument Types

Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 90074: Clava Cairns,chambered cairns,ring cairn,stone circles & chapel

Other References/Statuses

  • Guardianship Monument
  • Historic Environment Record: MHG3013
  • NMRS NUMLINK Reference: 14257
  • NMRS Record Details: NH74SE1 BALNUARAN OF CLAVA, NORTH-EAST
  • Old SMR Reference Number: NH74SE0001

Full description

NH74SE 1 7576 4447.

(Centred NH 75714443) Stone Circles & Cairns (OE) (Urns containing calcined bones found)
OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1906)

Clava passage-grave (Balnuaran of Clava,North-east) The cairn lies only 123 feet to the north-east of the central cairn, in the middle of the Clava cemetery. The kerb is of massive boulders and has a diameter of 55 feet. The stones graduate irregularly in size from 3 feet by the entrance on the south-west side to 1 foot 6 inches at the back, though the pair of stones which actually form the entrance are lower, 2 feet high. The cairn material is now piled up inside the kerb and reaches a height of nearly 10 feet. There is a distinct platform of stoney material, rather irregular in outline, extending for 10 to 18 feet beyond the kerb and having a depth of about 1 foot 6 inches.
The passage is constructed of large boulders. The chamber has a diameter of 12-13 feet. The lowest course is also of upright boulders, those by the entrance 3 feet 9 inches and 3 feet high, those at the back 2 feet 5 inches high. The wall at the back still remains up to 7 feet high consisting of eight rough and irregular courses including some very large stones. There is only a slight oversailing of the upper part giving a maximum overhang of 1 foot.
The cairn is surrounded by a circle of eleven standing stones (and one small earthfast stone on the north-north-east). The stones are irregularly spaced and vary from 24 to 37 feet from the kerb having an overall diameter of 110 to 117 feet. This irregularity is probably partly due to the fact that some of the stones (those on either side of the entrance, and the next stone to the north and north-east stone (W Jolly 1882) were reset in the 19th century. The two stones on either side of the entrance one 9 feet and 5 feet 3 ins. High.
Cupmarks occur on the innermost stone of the passage on the north-west side (W Jolly 1882) and also on a stone on the north side of the kerb
(S Piggott 1956). The former stone has certainly four and possibly
seven simple cups; the latter, which measures 2 feet 8 inches by 1 foot 5 inches, is covered with cupmarks, one cup and ring meandering lines.
A S Henshall, Visited 15 April 1957; W Jolly 1882; J Fraser 1884; C Innes 1862; S Piggott 1956. <1>-<5>

NH 7576 4447 The remains of this cairn are as described above.
Revised at 1/2500.
Visited by OS (W D J) 25 April 1962.

Air photographs of the Balnuaran of Clava cairns taken by Jill Harden in 1989, are in Inverness Museum (8901.21-22 and 8907.02 INVMG). Information from J Harden 1989.

NH 7576 4447 The second season of excavation (see Bradley 1994) focused on the NE passage grave and investigated the chronological relationship between the five main elements on the site: the internal structure of the cairn, its kerb, its entrance passage, the platform upon which the site appears to be built and the stone circle which surrounds the entire monument. All proved to have been constructed during a single phase. The cairn contained a core of massive blocks and redeposited turf or topsoil which formed a stable structure supporting the corbelled burial chamber. This was covered by a skin of smaller rubble which was revetted by the kerbstones. These were only shallowly bedded in the ground and had been held in position by a rubble ramp piled up against the exterior of the monument. The composition of this ramp or platform matched the constructional sequence in the cairn itself, with quarried slabs similar to those employed in the chamber towards the base of this deposit and rounded boulders towards its surface. This feature continued unbroken across the entrance to the tomb and extended outwards as far as the stone circle. One of the monoliths belonging to this circle lacked any socket and was bedded in the tail of the ramp- thus it could not have been erected after that material was in position. The entrance passage had been cleared of any archaeological deposits during an unrecorded excavation. A few flecks of cremated bone were found on the surface of the platform. Over a hundred lithic artefacts were recovered during the excavation and samples were taken for study by soil micromorphology, pollen analysis and radiocarbon dating.
A section was also cut through the rubble ramp of the SW passage grave (NH 7568 4447) (NH74SE 4) at the point where the kerbstones were at their lowest. In this case the kerb lacked any sockets and again the ramp must have been a primary feature of the monument. It was constructed in exactly the same manner as the platform of the NE cairn, but in this case it had been surfaced with flat slabs.
Sponsors: British Academy, Historic Scotland, Reading University, the Society of Antiquaries of London and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, with additional assistance from Highland Regional Council and National Trust for Scotland.
R Bradley 1995. <6>

"An Astronomical Assessment of the Clava Cairns ", can be found in the associated documents for this site.
J Aitken : 18/12/00.

Possible cup-marked stone removed from site over past year. Reported and Hyperlinked photos by D Scott.
A M Fox, Highland Council, 14.03.02

Jim Bone AP 2003 - HAW 10/2003

Site visited and photographed by Angela Lake, 23/9/2003. The Highland Archaeology Challenge. See Assoc. Docs. File for notes and plan.
J Aitken : 22/1/2004

A photograph of this cairn showing the kerb was submitted to the Highland HER Flickr group in June 2011 by "CaptainOates". <7>

The cairn was photographed at midwinter sunset in 1995 by Douglas Scott.


Balnuaran of Clava. (Image/Photograph(s))


Balnuaran of Clava. (Image/Photograph(s))


Balnuaran of Clava. (Image/Photograph(s))


Balnuaran of Clava. (Image/Photograph(s))


Clava : Balnuaran North. (Image/Photograph(s))


Culloden Muir. (Image/Photograph(s))


Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s))


Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s))


Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s))


Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s))


Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s))


Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s)/Aerial Photograph)


Walker, I C, 1965, 'The Clava cairns', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 96 1962-3, p.87-106 (Text/Publication/Article)


Thom, A, 1967, Megalithic sites in Britain (Text/Publication/Volume)


Ritchie and MacLaren, J N G and A, 1973, 'Ring-cairns and related monuments in Scotland', Scot Archaeol Forum Vol. 4 1972, p.1-17 (Text/Publication/Article)


Burl, {H} A {W}, 1973, 'Stone circles and ring-cairns', Scot Archaeol Forum Vol. 4 1972, p.31-47 (Text/Publication/Article)


Burl, H A W, 1973, 'The recumbent stone circles of North-East Scotland', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 102 1969-70, p.56-81 (Text/Publication/Article)


Burl, {H} A {W}, 1976, The stone circles of the British Isles (Text/Publication/Volume)


Burl, {H} A {W}, 1979, Rings of stone: the prehistoric stone circles of Britain and Ireland (Text/Publication/Volume)


RCAHMS, 1979, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of North-east Inverness, Inverness District, Highland Region (Text/Report)


Thom, Thom and Burl, A, A S and [H] A [W], 1980, Megalithic rings: plans and data for 229 monuments in Britain (Collection/Catalogue/Gazetteer)


Burl, H A W, 1981, "By the light of the cinerary moon": chambered tombs and the astronomy of death (Text/Publication/Article)


Burl, H A W, 1982, Pi in the sky (Text/Publication/Article)


Barclay, G J, 1991, 'The clearing and partial excavation of the cairns at Balnuaran of Clava, Inverness-shire, by Miss Kathleen Kennedy, 1930-31', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 120 1990, p.17-32 (Text/Publication/Article)


Bradley, R, 1994, 'Balnuaran of Clava (Croy & Dalcross parish): megalithic cemetery', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1994, p.34-5 (Text/Publication/Article)


Bradley, R. et al, 2000, The Good Stones: a new investigation of the Clava Cairns (Text/Publication/Monograph)


Puls, A, 2008, Clava Cairns (Image/Photograph(s))


<1> Henshall, A S, 1963, The chambered tombs of Scotland, Volume 1 (Text/Publication/Monograph)


<2> Jolly, W, 1882, On cup-marked stones in the neighbourhood of Inverness; with an appendix on cup-marked stones in the Western Islands (Text/Publication/Article)


<3> Fraser, J, 1884, 'Descriptive notes on the stone circles of Strathnairn and neighbourhood of Inverness', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 18 1883-4, p.328-62 (Text/Publication/Article)


<4> Innes, C, 1862, 'Notice of a tomb on the hill of Roseisle, Morayshire, recently opened; also of the chambered cairns and stone circles at Clava, in Nairnshire', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 3 1857-60, p.46-50 (Text/Publication/Article)


<5> Piggott, S, 1956, Excavations in passage-graves and ring-cairns of the Clava group 1952-3 (Text/Publication/Article)


<6> Bradley, R, 1995, 'Balnuaran of Clava (Croy & Dalcross parish), megalithic cemetery', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1995, p.39 (Text/Publication/Article)


<7> Various, Photographs from the Highland HER Flickr group (no real name given) (Image/Photograph(s))

Sources and further reading

---Image/Photograph(s): Culloden Muir.. Colour Slide. .
---Image/Photograph(s): Balnuaran of Clava.. Colour Slide. .
---Image/Photograph(s): Balnuaran of Clava.. Colour Slide. .
---Image/Photograph(s): Balnuaran of Clava.. Colour Slide. .
---Image/Photograph(s): Balnuaran of Clava.. Colour Slide. .
---Image/Photograph(s): Clava : Balnuaran North.. Colour Slide; Digital Image. .
---Text/Publication/Article: Ritchie and MacLaren, J N G and A. 1973. 'Ring-cairns and related monuments in Scotland', Scot Archaeol Forum Vol. 4 1972, p.1-17. Scot Archaeol Forum. 1-17. 8.
---Text/Publication/Article: Burl, {H} A {W}. 1973. 'Stone circles and ring-cairns', Scot Archaeol Forum Vol. 4 1972, p.31-47. Scot Archaeol Forum. 31-47. 31-47.
---Text/Publication/Article: Walker, I C. 1965. 'The Clava cairns', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 96 1962-3, p.87-106. Proc Soc Antiq Scot. 87-106. 87-106.
---Text/Publication/Article: Barclay, G J. 1991. 'The clearing and partial excavation of the cairns at Balnuaran of Clava, Inverness-shire, by Miss Kathleen Kennedy, 1930-31', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 120 1990, p.17-32. Proc Soc Antiq Scot. 17-32. 21-2; illus 6-10, 14.
---Text/Publication/Article: Burl, H A W. 1973. 'The recumbent stone circles of North-East Scotland', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 102 1969-70, p.56-81. Proc Soc Antiq Scot. 56-81. 73, 77.
---Text/Publication/Volume: Burl, {H} A {W}. 1979. Rings of stone: the prehistoric stone circles of Britain and Ireland. 126-9.
---Text/Publication/Volume: Burl, {H} A {W}. 1976. The stone circles of the British Isles. 161, 165-7, 177, 226, 358.
---Text/Publication/Monograph: Bradley, R. et al. 2000. The Good Stones: a new investigation of the Clava Cairns. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series. 17. Paper (Original). pp 32-38, 69-79.
---Text/Publication/Article: Bradley, R. 1994. 'Balnuaran of Clava (Croy & Dalcross parish): megalithic cemetery', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1994, p.34-5. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland. 34-5. 34-35.
---Image/Photograph(s): Puls, A. 2008. Clava Cairns. Highland Council Planning & Development Service.
---Text/Report: RCAHMS. 1979. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of North-east Inverness, Inverness District, Highland Region. . 7, No. 5.
---Text/Publication/Volume: Thom, A. 1967. Megalithic sites in Britain. 64, 65, 69, 98, 137, no. B7/1.
---Text/Publication/Article: Burl, H A W. 1982. Pi in the sky. SHG23368. 141-9. 150.
---Text/Publication/Article: Burl, H A W. 1981. "By the light of the cinerary moon": chambered tombs and the astronomy of death. SHG23416. 243-74. 257.
---Collection/Catalogue/Gazetteer: Thom, Thom and Burl, A, A S and [H] A [W]. 1980. Megalithic rings: plans and data for 229 monuments in Britain. 81. 246-7.
---Image/Photograph(s)/Aerial Photograph: B/W Negative. .
---Image/Photograph(s): Digital Image. .
---Image/Photograph(s): Digital Image. .
---Image/Photograph(s): Digital Image. .
---Image/Photograph(s): Digital Image. .
---Image/Photograph(s): Digital Image. .
<1>Text/Publication/Monograph: Henshall, A S. 1963. The chambered tombs of Scotland, Volume 1. 362-4, INV 9; plan, fig. 88.
<2>Text/Publication/Article: Jolly, W. 1882. On cup-marked stones in the neighbourhood of Inverness; with an appendix on cup-marked stones in the Western Islands. Proc Soc Antiq Scot Volume 16. 300-401. 303-5; fig. 1.
<3>Text/Publication/Article: Fraser, J. 1884. 'Descriptive notes on the stone circles of Strathnairn and neighbourhood of Inverness', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 18 1883-4, p.328-62. Proc Soc Antiq Scot. 328-62. 188-90; pl. 41.
<4>Text/Publication/Article: Innes, C. 1862. 'Notice of a tomb on the hill of Roseisle, Morayshire, recently opened; also of the chambered cairns and stone circles at Clava, in Nairnshire', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 3 1857-60, p.46-50. Proc Soc Antiq Scot. 46-50. 48; pl. 6-7.
<5>Text/Publication/Article: Piggott, S. 1956. Excavations in passage-graves and ring-cairns of the Clava group 1952-3. Proc Soc Antiq Scot Volume 88. 173-207. 188-90; pl. 41.
<6>Text/Publication/Article: Bradley, R. 1995. 'Balnuaran of Clava (Croy & Dalcross parish), megalithic cemetery', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1995, p.39. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland. 39. 39.
<7>Image/Photograph(s): Various. Photographs from the Highland HER Flickr group (no real name given). Colour. Yes. Digital.

Related Monument/Building records

MHG43661Parent of: Balnuaran of Clava (Monument)

Related Investigations - none

Related thematic articles

Related documents/files/web pages

Listed Buildings
Scheduled Ancient Monuments
Monuments/Buildings
Investigations