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Auld Wife's Grave, Cairnscarrow

Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Site Name Auld Wife's Grave, Cairnscarrow

Classification Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Alternative Name(s) 'A Rock Called The Witche's Grave'

Canmore ID 61688

Site Number NX16SW 1

NGR NX 1353 6498

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Inch
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Wigtown
  • Former County Wigtownshire

Archaeology Notes

NX16SW 1 1353 6498.

(NX 1353 6498) Auld Wife's Grave (NAT)

Chambered Cairn (NR)

(remains of)

OS 1:10000 map (1979)

The remains of a chambered cairn, possibly of the Bargrennan group, surviving as a chamber composed of massive slabs surrounded by the last vestiges of the cairn, heathergrown but rising to the tops of the side slabs and having a diameter of about 30'. It may be the remnant of a larger cairn. The chamber measures more than 12' long and 2' 6" in maximum width and may have been created from a natural rock crevice since both the immense NW side slab and that on the SE may be rock outcrop. The NE end is blocked by a slab set across the ends of both, and the chamber has been approached from the SW. The site has been in its present state since at least 1847 (Name Book 1847) and the interior of the chamber appears to have been cleared.

A S Henshall 1972; RCAHMS 1912

Auld Wife's Grave, name confirmed, is as described.

Surveyed at 1:10000.

Visited by OS (JP) 29 April 1976

The remains of what is probably a chambered cairn are situated 200m NNW of the OS Triangulation Station on the summit of Cairnscarrow. The cairn measures about 9m in diameter, but has been reduced to maximum of 0.6m in height. The chamber, which is aligned from NE to SW appears to have been created from a natural rock formation. The NW side is probably a rock outcrop, measuring 3.8m in length by between 0.5m and 1.1m in thickness and 0.65m and 0.9m in height. The slab forming the SE side, which measures 2.4m by 0.5m and up to 0.7m in height, may have been split off the rock outcrop, the resulting chamber tapering from 0.6m in breadth at the top to between 0.3m and 0.4m at the bottom. The NE end of the chamber, which lies about 2.4m within the edge of the cairn, is formed by a slab measuring 1.3m by 0.3m and 0.65m in height.

A plan of the Stair Estates drawn up in 1795 (SRO, RHP 4620) describes the cairn as 'A Rock called the Witche's Grave', suggesting that the cairn had been reduced to its present state by the end of the 18th century.

RCAHMS 1987, visited (SH) 14 May 1985.


Desk Based Assessment (November 2010 - July 2015)

CFA Archaeology Ltd undertook an assessment of the potential effects of the proposed Glen App Windfarm (the Development) on cultural heritage.

All historic environmental features within the development area were identified and the nature of effects on these features discussed.

Funder: Land Use Consultants Ltd

CFA Archaeology Ltd


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