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Islay, Cnoc An Altair

Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Site Name Islay, Cnoc An Altair

Classification Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Canmore ID 37557

Site Number NR34NE 33

NGR NR 3991 4713

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kildalton And Oa
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR34NE 33 3991 4713.

There is a small vertical stone with smaller related ones by a wooded area called Cnoc An Altair (NR 398 471).

F Celoria 1959.

NR 3991 4714 A grass covered stony mound 30m north east-south west by 12m transversely and up to 1.5m high is situated on a level shelf at a height of 60m OD. There are about seven large flat slabs, up to 2.5m across, and, near the east end, four upright stones 1m to 1.5m high. There is a depression, 3m by 2m, near the middle of the mound with a flat slab and what may be fallen upright, beside it.

This feature has the appearance of being a chambered cairn.

Surveyed at 1:10000.

Visited by OS (BS) 20 June 1978

What are probably the remains of a chambered cairn are situated 1km NW of Callumkill on the N side of a broad valley between the tree-covered ridges of Cnoc an Altair and Druim Baile Neactain Beag.

The cairn, aligned NE and SW, measures about 29m in length and up to 10.5m at its broader (NE) end; the ridge on which the cairn is situated drops from NE to SW, and thus the cairn is both narrower and lower at its SW end. Several massive stones at the NE end indicate the line of the facade, with those at its S end standing to heights of up to 1.6m, but others have fallen or have been incorporated in a recent enclosure. A sries of upright stones within the cairn suggests that the chamber was entered from the centre of the facade, but the only well-presrved compartment is some 5m to the rear of the facade and hte intervening arrangements are not clear. The visible compartment, which might also be interpreted as a secondary cist, is 1.25m long, 0.85m broad and at least 0.7m deep, and has two side-slabs with two end-slabs of similar height set between them. If the sizes of the other comperments were comparible, this would be the fourth from the facade.

An upright stone on the S side of the cairn, at a point midway along its length, may be one wall of a side-chamber, and although other stones may be detected nearby, their present disposition makes their interpretation impossible.

On the S flank of the ridge (NR c.399 471) on which the cairn sits there is a broken millstone 1.3m in diameter and 180mm thick.

RCAHMS 1984, visited May 1980


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