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Ardnadam, Adam's Grave

Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Site Name Ardnadam, Adam's Grave

Classification Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Alternative Name(s) Adam's Cave

Canmore ID 40774

Site Number NS18SE 5

NGR NS 1618 8003

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Dunoon And Kilmun
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NS18SE 5 1618 8003.

(NS 1618 8003) Adam's Cave (NR) (Cromlech) (NR)

OS 6" map (1946)

Adam's Cave or Adam's Grave, a chambered cairn, lies in a gently sloping field, just over 100' OD. The remnants of the cairn cover an area c. 30' by 27' and are heaped against the chamber to a depth of 2 or 3', but the present edge of the cairn material probably bears no relation to its original size of shape. In the centre of the mound is an almost complete small chamber of schist slabs. The entrance is from the NE between two tall pillar-like portal stones.

The chamber measures 10'6" from the outer ends of the portal stones to the back-slab and 2'11" across the inner end. The capstone, a massive irregular slab, lies tilted across the chamber; unless it is badly displaced, another capstone would be needed to roof the part of the chamber behind the portal stones.

The chamber was cleared out by Bryce, who made no finds. It had been examined at some time before 1845 when the results were equally negative. At that time the structure was in much the same condition as it is today.

Generally known as Adam's Cave, this chambered cairn is as described.

A S Henshall 1972; T Bryce 1909; NSA 1845; RCAHMS Emergency Survey 1942

Resurveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (JP) 5 March 1973

Adam's Cave (name verified), a chambered cairn, is as described in the previous information.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (TRG) 6 December 1976


Note (14 September 1942)

'Adam's Grave', Ardnadam.

Ref. Professor Bryce's account. Positive evidence as to whether a second chamber existed behind the stone that forms the back of the existing chamber; but it may noted that the side-slab on the N side of the chamber extends 2 ft beyond the face of the end stone, and also that a large slab, apparently the capstone of a second chamber, is lying close by on top of the cairn.

Visited by RCAHMS (AG) 14 September 1942.

Field Visit (May 1981)

On a level terrace overlooking the Holy Loch about 150m E of Ardnadam there are the remains of a single-compartment burial-chamber situated within a cairn measuring about 11m by 8m and 1m in height; it has, however, been so severely robbed that the present spread of stones probably does not reflect the original height or outline (Henshall 1972, 331)*.

The chamber, which measures about 3.25m by 0.8m and 1m in height above the present floor level, is aligned NE-SW with the entrance at the NE end. The portal stones stand to heights of 1.6m and 1.75m above ground level on the NW and SE respectively; in the course of his excavation in 1904, Bryce discovered that they were set in socket-holes (Bryce 1909, 363-6). The massive NW side-slab of the chamber is 2.8m long and 0.5m in greatest thickness, but the stones forming the SE side are now partly dislodged. The capstone (2.3m by 2m and 0.25m thick), which still covers a large part of the chamber, rests on cairn material along its SE edge and not directly on the side-slabs. The chamber had already been cleared out before Bryce's examination, and 'even by careful riddling' of the floor-deposits nothing was found (Bryce 1909, 366).

Visited May 1981


*The cairn is known locally as 'Adam's Grave' or 'Adam's Cave'; for early descriptions of the site and accounts of the folklore connected with it see Bennett, J M, Notes on Neolithic Chambered Tomb at Ardnadam, Argyll (no date).


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