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North Uist, Westford, Dun Na Carnaich

Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Site Name North Uist, Westford, Dun Na Carnaich

Classification Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Alternative Name(s) West Ford

Canmore ID 9981

Site Number NF76NE 4

NGR NF 76994 66168

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/9981

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish North Uist
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NF76NE 4 7699 6617.

(NF 7699 6617) Dun na Carnaich (NR) (Site of)

OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1904)

This Clyde group, square chambered cairn is in a field, only 30ft from and 10ft above high water mark. It has been considerably robbed, but still stands about 6ft high to the W of the chamber. The surface is very uneven and is mainly turf-covered. The edge is fairly clear except on the N side where there has ben more disturbance. The cairn appears to be almost square on plan, with rounded corners, about 70 to 75ft across. The worst damage to the monument is a trench about 12ft wide which has been dug to almost ground level across the cairn from NE to SW, involving the destruction of the inner part of the chamber. A fence crosses the SSE side. Across the N side of the cairn there are four large slabs which have stood in an lost straight line to form a facade. The westernmost stone is set at an angle across the NW corner of the cairn; it can be seen (in a hollow dug against its N face) to be 3ft high. The next stone has fallen and now lies horizontally with a space below it. The next stone, which has probably formed the E portal of the entrance, stands 1ft 6 ins high above the cairn material. The stone to the E now leans steeply to the S with its foot covered by turf; its original position can be estimated and the stone has been between 5 and 6 ft high. Cairn material extends 8 or 9ft in front of the facade stones. A fifth stone is set on the edge of the cairn at the NE corner and projects 1ft 9in. Seven orthostats of the chamber or passage are exposed, arranged on an axis bearing NNE to SSW from the centre of the facade. The two rows of stones lean towards each other, and the interior space is now filled with stones. Owing to the uneven robbing of the site, and the slant of the stones, the plan now appears more irregular than is probably the case. The existing structure is 20ft long. The innermost pair of stones is heavier and taller than the others, exposed at the maximum to 4ft high. At the S end the stones are 4ft 3 ins apart. The E stone overlaps its neighbour by 4in.

Visited by A S Henshall 26 April 1962.

A S Henshall Chambered Tombs of Scotland 2 MSS.

The remains of a considerably mutilated cairn, as described by Henshall. Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (J T T) 5 June 1965.

Activities

Field Visit (5 September 1914)

Cairn, Chambered or Segmented (ruined), Dun na Carnaich, West Ford.

On the western shore of North Uist, opposite Kirkibost island, some 500 yards west of West Ford Inn, about 10 yards from and no more than 10 feet above high-water mark, are the ruins of a chambered or segmented cairn. Not only has it been reduced in height and diameter, but a large gap about 12 feet wide has been made down to the foundation from the north-east to the westside of the monument. It has measured at least 60 feet in diameter, and is now only 6 feet in height at the most. On the north side of the gap the remains either of a segmented chamber or entrance passage to a chamber have survived, being traceable for about 16 feet and running slightly to the west of north from the centre of the cairn. Three large slabs set on edge placed end to end remain on the eastern side, the slab to the south measuring 5 feet 1 inch in length, 4 feet in height, and 10 inches in thickness, the other two being about 4 feet long. Opposite the first of these three slabs, at a distance of 3 feet 5 inches at the southern end, diminishing to 3 feet at the other end, is a slab 5 feet 3 inches in length, showing 3 feet above the ground, and at least 15 inches thick. A short distance to the north of it and on the same side of the passage or chamber is a smaller slab placed obliquely. On the north-west of the mound a slab 3 feet high, 2 feet 6 inches broad, and 13 inches thick resembles one of the slabs seen on the boundary of some of the other chambered cairns in the island. Three dislodged blocks of large size appear among the debris on the north-western arc of the cairn. (Fig. 135.)

RCAHMS 1928, visited 5 September 1914.

OS map: North Uist xxxix.

Field Visit (24 September 2010)

This chambered cairn is more or less as described and planned by Henshall. It stands at the bottom of a field little more than 10m above the High Water Mark and is now straddled by a modern fence line. It is almost square on plan, measuring 19m from NNE to SSW by 18.5m transversely across its façade, and still stands up to 2m in height at the centre. The façade is aligned WNW and ESE and the stones at either end are angled to form the corners. Another three stones of the façade are still visible but these have now fallen or are displaced. Seven stones are arranged in two rows to form the sides of the chamber and passage extending SSW from a point 2m behind the centre of the façade. The slabs forming the SSW end of the chamber have been robbed, probably when a trench was driven into the cairn from the NE to quarry stone. There is a standing stone 20m to the NE (see NF76NE 3).

Visited by RCAHMS (ARG,SPH) 24 September 2010

References

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