Cairn Holy Chambered Cairns

Cairn Holy Chambered Cairns, Carsluith, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Cairnholy (or Cairn Holy) is the site of two Neolithic chambered tombs. It is located 4 kilometres east of the village of Carsluith in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. The tombs are in the care of Historic Scotland.

Cairnholy I is the more elaborate of the two tombs. It measures 50 by 15 metres and has a monumental curving fa?ade, that formed the backdrop to a forecourt in front of the tomb. Excavation showed that several fires had been lit in the forecourt. The tomb itself has two chambers. The outer chamber, which was entered through the fa?ade, contained a fragment of a jadeite ceremonial axe, together with sherds of Neolithic pottery and a leaf-shaped arrowhead. Late grave-goods comprised Peterborough-ware and Beaker-ware pottery sherds and a flint knife. The inner chamber was built as a closed box, and was inaccessible from the outer one. It was probably originally roofed by a great stone slab resting on the two taller end-slabs. The inner chamber contained a secondary cist, with food vessel sherds and a cup-and-ring carved stone.

Cairnholy II is located to the north of Cairnholy I. Local tradition maintains that it was the tomb of Galdus, a mythical Scottish king. It is from this tomb that the nearby farm takes its name. It measures 20 by 12 metres, and is less than 60 centimetres high. It has been robbed of stones but there are still two portal stones in front of the chambered tomb. There is a very shallow v-shaped forecourt at the front of the tomb. The tomb contained two chambers. The rear chamber had been previously robbed, and the other disturbed, but an arrowhead and a flint knife were found within the filling, along with secondary sherds of Beaker pottery.


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