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Dumbarton Muir, 'lang Cairn'

Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Site Name Dumbarton Muir, 'lang Cairn'

Classification Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Alternative Name(s) Gallangad Burn; The Lang Cairn, Dumbartonmuir

Canmore ID 43444

Site Number NS48SE 1

NGR NS 4576 8147

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council West Dunbartonshire
  • Parish Dumbarton
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Dumbarton
  • Former County Dunbartonshire

Archaeology Notes

NS48SE 1 4576 8147

(NS 4576 8147) Lang Cairn (NR)

OS 6" map, (1959)

The Lang Cairn, Dumbartonmuir: This Clyde group, chambered long cairn measures about 185' in length, with its main axis ESW-WNW. At the E end, where it stands about 6' high - though the height immediately behind the facade was increased by additional stones a few years ago - it measures 50' across, gradually contracting and decreasing in height to a narrow, rounded W end. Hollows have been made into the cairn in several places. Several small slabs, particularly along the W half of the N side, may belong to a peristalith some feet within the present edge of the cairn. At the E end of the cairn there is a facade of orthostats with panels of dry-walling between. The large stone, 6' high and the most prominent at the site was re-erected about 1960. Formerly prone in the forecourt, it was set up where its base lay. There are two pairs of portal stones in the centre of the facade. Behind the facade, and askew to the axis of the cairn, there is the single compartment of a chamber, now covered over. It is not known what structure may lie between this and the portals.

About 60' behind the facade, part of a lateral chamber is exposed. Another lateral chamber existed 51' further W. All that is visible is a large slab, 4'6" x 1' thick; a hollow on its W side suggests this stone formed the E side of a chamber.

Near the W end of the cairn a substantial slab set upright may be seen aligned along the medial line of the cairn. It is 2'4" x 6" x at least 1'6" high, but its upper edge is at present flush with the cairn material. A smaller slab N of it may belong to a peristalith.

A paving of flat slabs fills the forecourt. This is likely to be a deliberate blocking. Above this there was a layer of rounded stones like those forming the body of the cairn; these stones were moved back behind the facade when the large stone was re-erected.

A S Henshall 1972; E W MacKie 1963.

This fine example of a Clyde cairn is as described by previous authorities.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (J P) 13 November 1975.

This cairn is situated on at a height of 167m OD. It measures 56.4m in length by 15.2m in maximum width and is aligned ESE-WNW. At its E end, where it stands 1.8m high, there is a facade constructed of orthostats with panels of dry-stone walling between them. Two pairs of portal stones stand in the centre of the facade.

RCAHMS 1978, visited December 1977.


Conservation (13 May 2009)

NS 4576 8147 Two holes had been illicitly dug into the cairn material; these had not located any structural remains, artefacts or deposits other than stone cairn make-up material. The eastern hole measured 1.15m x 1m and was up to 1.8m deep. The western hole measured 2m x 1.5m and was up to 1.2m deep. On 13 May 2009 the holes were recorded, lined with terram and backfilled with the stones that had been removed during the illicit excavation to restore the profile and surface appearance of the cairn.

Archive: Held by FAS until deposited in RCAHMS

Funder: Historic Scotland

Fiona Baker – Firat Archaeological Services

Laser Scanning (2 February 2017 - 3 February 2017)

NS 4576 8147 (NS48SE 1) and NS 45840 80721 (NS48SE 7). A laser scan survey was carried out of the two chambered cairns, 2–3 February 2017, using a Trimble FX laser scanner. Lang Cairn is a typical Neolithic Clyde-type long cairn with a grand façade composed of large orthostats and a long body of dry stone rubble, now mostly overgrown with heather, grasses and small conifer trees.

The Shiels of Gartlea cairn is a Clyde-type cairn, which has been damaged by FCS plantation works to the NW of the structure. The cairn measures 10.3m along its ENE/WSW oriented axis and is 5.1m wide. It survives as an overgrown mound of dry stone rubble,

Archive: NRHE (intended)

Funder: Forestry Commission Scotland

Jamie Humble – AOC Archaeology Group

(Source: DES, Volume 18)


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