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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Inverness in Inverness-shire,, Scotland, United Kingdom
 

Balnuaran of Clava

a prehistoric cemetery

 

—Clava Cairns —

 
Balnuaran of Clava Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 5, 2013
1. Balnuaran of Clava Marker
Click photo for closeup of maps
Inscription.
The monuments here were built between three and four thousand years ago.

The oldest are a circular walled enclosure - the central 'ring cairn' and two 'passage graves.' The latest was a ring of boulders that enclosed a grave, the 'kerb cairn.' Such Bronze Age monuments are a feature of the inner Moray Firth and as these are the best preserved examples, they are known as 'Clava cairns.'

Recent excavations and research here have revealed a startling new complexity to the construction of these cairns.
Our attention has been drawn to the characteristics of the architecture. These reflect the esteem in which the builders held the light of the sun and the colour, shape and texture of stones. It was discovered that each tomb was short lived and may have housed very few bodies - possibly only one - and that these were not accompanied by any offerings that survive today. As a tomb went out of use it was surrounded by a ring of standing stones. In around 1,000 BC the cemetery was reused and further monuments were constructed.

What you are able to see now was originally part of a much larger cemetery which extended eastwards towards the Nairn Viaduct (behind you).
In the 1870's the monuments were interpreted as druids' temples and, in keeping with Victorian romanticism, the owner
Balnuaran of Clava Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 5, 2013
2. Balnuaran of Clava Marker
Marker to left(yellow arrow)
planted a grove of trees enclosing the three largest monuments. In the opposite direction, are the remains of part of another cemetery which can be visited at Milton of Clava. This is shown on the map and is 10 minutes away by foot.

You can visit another 'Clava cairn' at Corrimony, to the west of Loch Ness, and the contemporary cemetery at Kilmartin in Argyll. A leaflet to accompany your visit is available from Fort George or can be downloaded from www.historic-scotland.govuk.

caption
The distribution of passage graves and ring cairns in northern Scotland.
 
Erected by Historic Scotland.
 
Location. 57° 28.402′ N, 4° 4.339′ W. Marker is in Inverness, Scotland, in Inverness-shire,. Marker is on National Cycle Rte 7. Touch for map.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 1 other marker is within 2 kilometers of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Culloden Battlefield (approx. 1.7 kilometers away).
 
Also see . . .  Clava Cairns. Historic Scotland's visitor guide to the Clava Cairns. (Submitted on December 20, 2015.) 
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial Sites
 
North-East Passage Grave image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 5, 2013
3. North-East Passage Grave
North-East Passage Grave Entrance image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 5, 2013
4. North-East Passage Grave Entrance
Central Ring Cairn & South-West Passage Grave image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 5, 2013
5. Central Ring Cairn & South-West Passage Grave
Central Ring Cairn (yellow arrow)
South-West Passage Grave (green arrow)
South-West Passage Grave Entrance image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 5, 2013
6. South-West Passage Grave Entrance
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 19, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 255 times since then and 66 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on December 19, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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