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West Virginia, West Virginia
August 2, 2010
From journal Seeking the Stones
by Mary Porcher
New Haven, Connecticut
July 31, 2002
Just a short distance from Culloden, this sight is much older and more mysterious. There are three huge circular mounds of stones, surrounded by standing stone circles. The mounds have pathways leading into a bare center, with rocks piled all around. A few remains were found here, but we are not sure what the purpose of the cairns really was. They were built around the 3rd century BC, and they are magnificent messages from the past.
Jason and I were alone here for a while, and what I remember most is standing right beside one of the cairns, having an amazing discussion about them, just staring. The cup marks are so strange...why would a person take the time to chisel small circles from a large stone? Who would do it in the society - an artist, a slave? Was it a rite of passage for a young man to help build one of these sites? Or did a newer society use an old stone, already carved, when piling the rocks for their cairn?
Free to visit, this sight could interest anyone in ancient history. Seeing Clava inspired us to take a day trip to Argyll later in the week, where we visited a museum and several more ancient sites. We learned that newer people were often spooked or annoyed by these large cairns in their fields. Sometimes farmers would pile rocks and boulders that they removed from their farmland on top of the cairns. Sometimes they would use the stones in a cairn for building walls or homes. So there may have been many more cairns that we are aware of today.
From journal Driving Northern Scotland
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
June 19, 2002
From journal There's More to Inverness than Nessie
May 8, 2002
Of significance to readers of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, this is about the distance from Inverness that Claire would have gone to fall through her stones to the past. There is even a pair of stones at an angle to each other that could be fallen through!
We saw this site on the same day as our visit to Culloden and Cawder Castle, as it may also be found SE of Inverness.
Administered by the National Trust of Scotland, admission is free.
From journal Driving Through Scotland
October 6, 2001
The center is called a Ring Cairn and has no obvious entrance. Large boulders hold the stacked stones in place for a 60 ft. circle. The East and West cairns both have passageways that were once covered and aligned with the winter solstice. The sun hits odd shaped stones along the back wall at that time.
Take some time to walk slowly around the exterior looking for the ground-out cup marks on many of the boulders. The reason for this is unknown. Perhaps the shape is what was important, or the ground rock may have been added to body paints, or maybe it was a form of punishment.
The use of the cairns isn't really known. If they were used as burial chambers, why weren't bodies found? People didn't live here, because garbage from everyday life should have been found. Whenever archeologists don't know, they say that it is CEREMONIAL....so let's say that these cairns were a religious center of some kind.
I think that these people were traders with the older race on Orkney and "borrowed" some of the religious ceremonies. After visiting both sites, you can see that these cairns are more rough in construction and appearance.
From journal Highland Fling in Inverness