Artist’s impression of Giants’ Graves Neolithic site, Arran, Scotland

This evening, I am reporting on just one aspect of the Isle of Arran’s rich prehistoric heritage as manifested in the site  known as Giants’ Graves. This comprises two, chambered burial cairns dating from the  early Neolithic site (over 5000 years ago). The cairns are 131 feet apart and stand on a ridge overlooking Whiting Bay and the sea at a height of 394 feet.

Heavy robbing of the site over a long period of time has significantly diminished the structures.

Key features of the Long Cairn:

  • The surface is mainly 2-3 feet high, but rising to 5 feet on the West.
  • The main axis is N-S, the North end being wider with a concave facade. The width at the North end has been about 70 feet.
  • The sides of the cairn are straight, converging gently to a width of 46ft at 90ft from the North end
  • The forecourt has been about 41 ft across and 20 ft deep. The N.W horn is clearly visible while the NE horn is defined by a large upright stone, 5 feet wide and 4 feet high.
  • The chamber is 22 feet long from inside the outer portal stones, and varies from 5 feet to 2 feet 7 ins wide.
  • During a 1902 excavation a layer of charcoal was found along the bottom.  Artifacts found included beaker sherds, ‘U’ pottery sherds, flint knives, leaf-shaped arrowheads. Fragments of burnt bone were also found in the chamber. About 33 feet South of the main chamber are the remains of a second chamber, 7ft 6ins long.
  • Inspection of the site in 2006 revealed cremated bone recovered by sieving. A single sherd of prehistoric pottery and a retouched flint were recovered from the excavation area.

Acknowledgement: Information above sourced from the Canmore, Historic Environment Scotland website.

Giants’ Graves site, Arran, Scotland.

Giants’ Graves, Arran, Scotland.

Giants’ Graves, Arran, Scotland.

Giants’ Graves, Arran, Scotland.

Whiting Bay, Arran, Scotland