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13 June 2017
Clava Cairns site in Scotland vandalised

One of Scotland's ancient burial sites has been vandalised. Stones have been dislodged and graffiti written on a rock at the 4,000-year-old Clava Cairns near Culloden in the Highlands. The cairns have been an inspiration for Diana Gabaldon's Outlander stories, and the ancient cemetery was a used as a sacred place for 1,000 years.
     The recent damage to the site was highlighted by local group Inverness Outlanders. A spokesman for Historic Environment Scotland, which manages the site, said: "We are aware of the recent vandalism to Clava Cairns and remedial work is scheduled to remove it. Thankfully incidents such as this are rare, however, we'd ask that members of the public refrain from graffiti at our sites and remind them that it is a criminal offence to cause reckless or deliberate damage to a scheduled monument."
     Seventeen years ago, a Belgian tourist took a stone from one of the cairns as a souvenir before returning it after complaining it had cursed his family. Surprised staff at Inverness Tourist Centre received a parcel containing the stone and a letter which urged them to return it to its rightful place at Clava Cairns. The man said that since taking the stone his daughter had broken her leg, his wife had become very ill, and he had lost his job and broken his arm. A tourist official returned the "cursed stone" to Clava Cairns.

Edited from BBC News (7 June 2017)

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