Region : Highlands Home
District : Inverness Map
Town or village : Inverness List
Grid Reference : NH 757 444 Glossary
Period : Late 3rd millennium BC Bibliography
Balnuaran of Clava

Balnuaran of Clava image

Balnuaran of Clava, near the River Nairn and the Culloden battlefield (Inverness), is a splendid and complex Neolithic cemetery.
This site has given the type-name Clava to a whole group of similar burial cairns situated only in the Inverness and Nairn districts. There are about thirty and are of two different plan-forms: the first one is the 'passage-grave', with a central circular burial chamber approached through the cairn by a low passage (as seen in the photo); the second type is the 'ring-cairn', with no passageway to the central chamber. Both types are surrounded by a ring of stones.
At Balnuaran of Clava there are three cairns (two passage-graves and a ring-cairn). All stand on artificial platforms. The north-east passage-grave (in the photo) is 3m high. One of its kerb stones bears a lot of cupmarks and a ring-and-cup marking. It is surrounded by a circle of eleven monoliths.
Further on there is the ring-cairn with no passage: three of its nine encircling stones are linked to the cairn by low banks of stone. The ring-cairn was restored around 1881.
The south-west passage-grave has a passage leading to a chamber 4m in diameter. Eleven of the 12 original stones of its surrounding circle are still in place.
The three cairns are 16.7m, 17m and 16m respectively in diameter and the surrounding stone circles are 33m, 30m and 31.5m across. In the cairns' chambers some cremated bones have been found.
Near the central cairn there is also a small kerb-circle of 15 boulders, only 3.7m in diameter. During excavations a pit with an inhumation burial together with quartz pebbles was found there.
In care of Historic Scotland