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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 663195

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


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.

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.

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