The Solar Lunar Orientations of the Orkney-Cromarty and Clava Cairns
Issue: Vol 2 No. 1 (2016)
Journal: Journal of Skyscape Archaeology
This paper outlines the background to earlier studies of the orientation of the OrkneyCromarty (OC) passage cairns and the Clava passage and ring cairns, and details the outcome of a new and comprehensive survey carried out by the author over recent years. The paper sets out evidence of orientations in both sets of cairns to the eight divisions of the year and tests whether the alignments were observable. The results were compared to see if the Clava cairns had been influenced by the older OC cairns. Other solar and/or lunar aligned monuments are also briefly examined, as is relevant folklore.
Author: Douglas Scott
Anderson, J., 1886. Scotland in Pagan Times, the Bronze and Stone Ages. Edinburgh: D Douglas.
Bain, G., 1886–1887. “The Clava Cairns and Circles”. Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness 13: 122–135.
Barber, J., 1982. “A Fallen Stone at the Ring Cairn of Culdoich, Clava, Inverness”. Glasgow Archaeological Journal 9: 31–37. http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/gas.19184.108.40.206
Barclay, G., 1990. “The Clearing and Partial Excavation of the Cairns at Balnuaran of Clava, Inverness-shire, by Miss Kathleen Kennedy, 1930–31”. Proceedings of the Society Antiquaries Scotland 120: 17–32.
Bradley, R., 2000. The Good Stones: A New Investigation of the Clava Cairns. Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series 17. Edinburgh: Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland.
Burl, H. A. W., 1981 “‘By the Light of the Cinerary Moon’: Chambered Tombs and the Astronomy of Death”. In Astronomy and Society in Britain During the Period 4000–1500 BC, edited by C. L. N. Ruggles and A. Whittle, 243–274. British Archaeological Reports, British Series 88. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.
Burl, H. A. W., 1982. “Pi in the sky”. In Archaeoastronomy in the Old World, edited by D. C. Heggie, 141–169. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511898310.009
Card, N., 2013. “The Ness of Brodgar”. British Archaeology January–February: 14–21.
Carmichael, A., 1928. Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations with Illustrative Notes on Words, Rites, and Customs, Dying and Obsolete. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.
Cash, C. G., 1910. “Archaeological Notes from Aviemore”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 44: 189–203.
Childe, V. G., 1944. “An Unrecognised Group of Chambered Cairns”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 78: 26–38.
Corcoran, J. X. W. P., 1967. Notebooks, plans and drawings made during the excavation of the Ord North. National Monuments Record of Scotland Ms/270, sud/115/11–30.
Davidson, H. E., 1964. Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. London: Pelican Books.
Davidson, H. E., 1993. The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe. London: Routledge. http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780203408506
Davidson, J. L. and A. S. Henshall, 1991. The Chambered Cairns of Caithness: An Inventory of the Structures and Their Contents. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Evans-Wentz, W. Y., 1911. The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Fraser, J. G., 1914. Balder the Beautiful: The Fire-Festivals of Europe and the Doctrine of the External Soul, vol. 1. London: MacMillan and Co.
Gantz, J. (trans.), 1981. Early Irish Myths and Sagas. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin.
Henshall, A. S., 1963. The Chambered Tombs of Scotland, vol. 1. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Henshall, A. S., 1972. The Chambered Tombs of Scotland, vol. 2. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Henshall, A. S. and J. N. G. Ritchie, 1995. The Chambered Cairns of Sutherland: An Inventory of the Structures and Their Contents. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Henshall, A. S. and J. N. G Ritchie, 2001. The Chambered Cairns of the Central Highlands: An Inventory of the Structures and Their Contents. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Jolly, W., 1882. “On Cup-marked Stones in the Neighbourhood of Inverness”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 16: 300–401.
Lauder, T. D., 1830. An Account of the Great Floods of August, 1829, in the Province of Moray. Edinburgh: Adam Black.
MacGregor, G. and H. Loney, 1997. Excavations of the Kilcoy South, Chambered Cairn. Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division Report 434. Unpublished report (copy at the National Monuments Record of Scotland).
MacKie, E., 1977. The Megalith Builders. Oxford: Phaidon.
Mackenzie, J. B., 1899–1900. “Notes on Some Cup Marked Stones and Rocks near Kenmore, and Their Folklore”. Proceedings of the Society Antiquaries Scotland 34: 325–334.
Martin, M., 1934 . A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland. Stirling: E. Mackay.
O’Kelly, M. J., 1988. Newgrange: Art, Archaeology and Legend. London: Thames and Hudson.
Parker Pearson, M. and C. Richards (eds), 1994. Architecture and Order: Approaches to Social Space. London and New York: Routledge.
Peltenberg, E. J., 1971–1972. “Excavations of Culcarron Cairn, Benderloch, Argyll”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 104: 65–70.
Piggott, S., 1954–1956. “Excavations in Passage-graves and Ring Cairns of the Clava Group, 1952–3”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 88: 173–214.
Richards, C., 1992. Survey & Excavation of Barnhouse, Stenness, Orkney, 1991: An Interim Report for Orkney Islands Council on the Survey and Excavations at Barnhouse. Unpublished report, University of Glasgow.
Richards, C., 2013. Building the Great Stone Circles of the North. Oxford: Windgather Press.
Richardson, I., 1990. Laggan. Laggan, Scotland: Laggan Community Association.
Ritchie, J. N. G., and E. W. Marwick, 1976. “The Stones of Stenness, Orkney with an Account of the Stone of Odin by Ernest W Marwick”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 107: 1–60.
Scott, D., 1992. An Astronomical Assessment of the Clava Cairns. Unpublished manuscript held by Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.
Scott, D., 2003. Watchers of the Dawn: Astronomical Surveys of the Ancient Monuments of Scotland. [CD-Rom]. Tain, Scotland: Privately published.
Scott, D., 2010. The Clava Cairns. Inverness: For the Right Reasons Community Print.
Sharples, N. M., 1981. “The Excavation of a Chambered Cairn, The Ord North, at Lairg, Sutherland by J X W P Corcoran”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 111: 21–62.
Sharples, N. M., 1993. “Excavations at Miltown of Clava, Inverness-shire”. Glasgow Archaeological Journal 18 (18): 1–9. http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/gas.19220.127.116.11
Simpson, D. D. A., 1966–1967. “Excavations at Kintraw, Argyll”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 99: 54–59.
Simpson, D. D. A., 1996. “Excavation of a Kerb Funerary Monument at Stonyfield, Raigmore, Inverness, Highland, 1972–3”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 126: 53–86.
Somerville, H. B., 1923. “Instances of Orientation in Prehistoric Monuments of the British Isles”. Archaeologia (Second Series) 73: 193–224. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S026134090001033X
Smith, A., 1872. Descriptive List of Antiquities near Loch Etive, Argyllshire. Edinburgh: Neill and Company. Reprinted from the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 9 (1870–1871): 81–106.
Stokes, W. (ed. and trans.), 1887. Tripartite Life of Saint Patrick, with Other Documents Relating to that Saint. London: HM Stationery Office.
Thom, A., 1966. “Megalithic Astronomy: Indications in Standing Stones”. Vistas in Astronomy 7: 1–57. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0083-6656(66)90002-X
Thom, A., 1967. Megalithic Sites in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Thom. A., 1971. Megalithic Sites in Britain. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Thom, A. and A. A. Thom, 1980. Megalithic Rings British Archaeological Reports, British Series 81. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.
Wickham-Jones, C., 2015. Between the Wind and the Water: World Heritage Orkney. Oxford: Windgather Press.
Woodham, A. and M. F. Woodham, 1957. “The Excavation of a Chambered Cairn at Kilcoy, Ross-shire”. Proceedings of the Prehistory Society 90: 102–115.