Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Camas nan Geall Neolithic Cairn

Half-hidden under the southernmost of the line of sycamore trees in the field at Camas nan Geall lie the remains of a 6,000 year old Neolithic cairn (arrowed).

Most of the stones of which it was built have been removed, probably to build the walls of the houses which, in their turn, were abandoned by their owners. One house - at left in the picture - was even built on top of the rubble that formed part of the cairn structure.

This diagram of the site, adapted from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland's 'Argyll Vol 3' gives some idea of the site but put this into the hands of a talented artist like Rachael Kidd and....

....she brings the site to life.

Rachael was commissioned to make this drawing by the Ardnamurchan History & Heritage Association, for it to be included in the booklet it has produced about Camas nan Geall - but it has had another, unexpected bonus. While the literature describes it as a cairn of the Hebridean type, Rachael's drawing suggests it is more akin to a 'court tomb' of the type found at Tamnyrankin in Northern Ireland - link here.

For a full description of the history of the Camas nan Geall cairn, go to AHHA's Heritage Ardnamurchan website here.


  1. Even the orientation NW-SE matches the Tamnyrankin tomb, suggesting that, if this is a match, the direction may be ceremonially or religiously important.

  2. I like the drawing. Had no idea that it maybe looked like that.

  3. Speculation .....Does this NW -SE orientation of the opening match the solstice arc at sunrise ?

  4. Unconfirmed reply... I suspect the entrance is aligned with the midwinter sunrise, probably associated with the promise of new life as the year turns around. Many of the Irish court tombs seem to be so placed. I wonder if this placement (if proved) helped the bereaved community associate their loved one's resting place with regeneration and a good future (in an afterlife?) rather than an end and finality. Can an expert comment?