MHG2957 - Ring cairn and standing Stone - Ballaggan


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

  • STANDING STONE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)
  • RING CAIRN (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)

Protected Status

Full Description

Stone Circle (NR), Standing Stone (NR)
OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1906)

Ring-cairn, Culdoich: This cairn the most westerly of the Clava cemetery, lies like them in the flat fields of the valley floor. It has a somewhat irregular kerb, of both split stones and boulders; with a diameter of about 57 feet. It is complete but for minor gaps except on the south side where a small gravel pit has eaten into the side of the cairn. The kerb-stones are 2 feet 9 inches high on the south-west side opposite the monolith, dwindling at about 1 foot high on the other side. The interior circular setting has a diameter of about 22 feet and is of split stones which on excavation were found to stand up to 5 feet high. The cairn material has been removed except for the last foot or so.
A single stone of the surrounding stone circle remains an enormous slab 12 feet high, leaning outwards, set 27 feet from the kerb, on the southwest side. There are two cupmarks on the outer side of the monlith towards its base. One kerb stone on the east-south-east side also bears two cupmarks on its outer surface and another stone, on the west side, may possibly be marked but is too irregular and weathered to be certain (Jolly 1882). In the earliest record of the site (1857) the cairn is reported as "undisturbed" but there was then only one monolith (Innes 1862).
C Innes 1862; W Jolly 1882; J Fraser 1884; S Piggott 1956; S Lisowski 1958; A S Henshall 1963, visited 21 April 1958.

A small-scale excavation was carried out by S Piggott at the Cairn in 1953. Excavation of the greater part of the inner area showed that undisturbed deposits remained in situ. It was revealed that the original clay surface itself had, in the centre, a roughly circular area of about 7 ft. diameter heavily impregnated with charcoal and scattered cremated human bones. Other more sparsely scattered cremated bone fragments, unaccompanied by charcoal, extended out to the enclosing stones. No databale artefacts were found. <1>

Analysis of the cremated bone fragments recovered during S Piggot's excavation was carried out and reported on by F.P. Lisowski. The material was very fgragmentary, with the majority of fragments being under 20mm in length and approximately of the same size. This implied that they may have been broken up deliberately after the cremation. The remains of two individuals, one male and one female were represented. Tooth analysis indicated that at least one of the individuals had reached middle-age. <2>

The remains of the cairn are as described above.
Revised at 1/2500.
Visited by OS (W D J) 24 April 1962.

Excavation and a resistivity survey by the Central Excavation Unit under the direction of John Barber were carried out in 1982 at the ring cairn of Culdoich, Clava, Inverness. Excavation at the fallen stone which prompted the investigation produced no dating evidence. The orthostat was thought to have been the remnant of a stone circle which encircled the cairn, but the resistivity survey of the area failed to locate any other sockets. Limited excavation under a large slab near the cairn produced ard marks, post-holes and a sherd of pottery under c. 60cm of soil. This implies that a settlement, possibly associated with the cairns, lies protected beneath this layer. <1> <2>

Air photographs, taken by Jill Harden in 1989, are in Inverness Museum (8907.06-07 INVMG).
Information from J Harden 1989.

Sources/Archives (17)



Grid reference Centred NH 7511 4378 (28m by 28m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH74SE
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (4)

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