Region : Dumfries & Galloway Home
District : Wigtownshire Map
Town or village : Gatehouse of Fleet List
Grid Reference : NX 517 538 Glossary
Period : 3rd-2nd millennium BC Bibliography
Cairnholy I
(Cairn Holy I)

Cairnholy I image

On a gently sloping hill above Kirkdale Glen (Dumfries and Galloway) there is this superb Clyde-type chambered cairn with a monumental curving façade of eight tall uprights. The forecourt was used for ritual ceremonies. In front of the entrance there is a closing stone, now prostrate.
The cairn, measuring 43m x 10m, has been robbed of most of its material.
The chamber is built with in an inner and outer compartment, the inner one oddly built as a box, inaccessible from the outer one, as visible in the photo.
The site was excavated in 1949. Little is known about the burials for the acid soil conditions have dissolved the bones. Among the objects found in the outer compartment were part of an axe of jadeite, a rare green stone imported from the Alps and a leaf-shaped arrowhead. The axe is kept in the Royal Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh.
Some 150m uphill is another fine chambered cairn, Cairnholy II.
In care of Historic Scotland