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Carn Ban, Arran

Chambered Cairn

Site Name Carn Ban, Arran

Classification Chambered Cairn

Canmore ID 39612

Site Number NR92NE 1

NGR NR 9910 2620

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2016.

Administrative Areas

  • Council North Ayrshire
  • Parish Kilmory
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Cunninghame
  • Former County Buteshire

Archaeology Notes

NR92NE 1 9910 2620.

(NR 9910 2618) Carn Ban (NR)

Circle (NR).

OS 6" map (1924)

Carn Ban: Clyde group, long cairn: This cairn of bare stones is roughly rectangular in plan, about 100 by 60 ft. At the upper, NE end, there is a semicircular forecourt edged by square-ended horns. At the lower end the cairn is about 15 ft high; at the back of the chamber it is about 12 ft high, but at the NE end it merges into the rise of the hill. It is evident that much earth and stone has weathered out of the hillside above the cairn, and has accumulated in the dip between the hill and the end of the cairn, especially in the forecourt, almost entirely burying the orthostats and producing a level turf-covered area. The end of each horn is marked by two upright slabs; at present cairn material is not visible to the ends of the horns, and though it doubtless exists below the vegetation, it evidently never reached the tops of the orthostats. On the NW side of the N horn there is a stone about 3 ft high, aligned down the NW side of the cairn. It gives a width of about 14 ft to the horn, and suggests a peristalith, but in 1902 when Bryce dug into the side of the cairn near each end he found no built edging.

The forecourt measures 34 ft across by 20 ft deep. Six stones can be seen, spaced irregularly, and evidently several more are hidden. A stone to the N of the SE horn appears to be deliberately set, and projects 6 ins. It would lie roughly on the line of a continuation of the facade into a circle. The ONB describes "clear traces of a circle about 40 ft in diameter marked by stones varying from 1 ft to 2 1/2 ft in height", and 1st edition 6" depicts a complete circle of dots.

The chamber, which is 18 ft 8 ins long, divided into four compartments, was filled in again after Bryce's excavations. It was found to be filled with loose earth and stones, some of large size. The bottom of each compartment was covered by a 2 ins thick charcoal layer. The only finds made, now in the NMAS, were a flint flake, a pitchstone flake, and an unburnt fragment of human bone (Acc No EO 270). A fragment of burnt bone also found is now lost.

At the SW end of the cairn, several stones are exposed, suggesting the presence of a second chamber entered from the SW end. At the W corner of the cairn lie 3 flat slabs which seem to be pieces of one broken stone. This probably stood upright at or near the corner of the cairn.

A flint scraper and a box of flakes and chips, mainly flint, but some pitchstone, found near Carn Ban were donated to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS) in 1969 by the Forestry Commission (Acc Nos: AB 2922-3).

A S Henshall 1972; J Bryce 1903; J A Balfour 1910; Name Book 1856; NMAS Accessions Index

NR 9910 2620. Carn Ban (name confirmed on DoE nameboard) situated on a steep south-west facing slope is generally as described by Henshall. It is now in a forest clearing partly grass covered and in a decayed state. The chamber is filled with debris.

Surveyed at 1:10 000.

Visited by OS (BS) 16 November 1977.


Condition Survey (8 September 2014 - 12 September 2014)

AOC Archaeology Group undertook a survey of seven chambered cairns and one four poster stone circle on Arran was undertaken for the purposes of providing a baseline record, for conservation management and for archaeological study.

Information from OASIS ID: aocarcha1-200509 (G Cavers) 2014


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