Cairnpapple Hill - Torphichen, Scotland
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
N 55° 55.677 W 003° 37.348
30U E 461106 N 6198235
Quick Description: Cairnpapple Hill is located near Torphichen, Scotland. It was used from about 3000 BC to 1400 BC first as a ceremonial site then several centuries later as a burial site.
Location: Southern Scotland, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 8/29/2014 1:26:08 PM
Waymark Code: WMMC3P
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member veritas vita
Views: 7

Long Description:
"A unique holy place

Cairnpapple Hill is one of the most important prehistoric sites in mainland Scotland. When Professor Piggott of Edinburgh University excavated there in 1947–8, he discovered the summit of the hill crowned with ceremonial and burial monuments. They had been the focus of communal activity for over 200 generations of local farmers, from the 4th millennium BC through to the Christian era. The site was subsequently taken into State care and laid out for visitors to view this remarkable legacy from our remote past.

A neolithic ceremonial site

The earliest traces of activity dated from around 5,500 years ago. They comprised six hearths, in which pot-sherds were found and, more significantly, two stone-axe fragments – from axe-factories in Wales and Cumbria. Clearly the early-neolithic farmers of West Lothian did not live isolated lives. None of the hearths is visible anymore, because they were covered over in the later neolithic period by a great oval enclosure known as a ‘henge monument’. (The best henge monument in Scotland can be seen at the Ring of Brodgar, on Orkney.)

The henge comprised a bank 60m across, with a broad ditch on its outside and a ring of 24 upright timber posts within. There were two entrances, almost opposite each other. We know nothing of the nature of any ceremonies that surely took place there.

Bronze-Age burials

Around 4,000 years ago, during the early Bronze Age, the henge ceased to be used for ceremonial purposes. However, the local people still clearly revered it, for they buried an important member of their community there. This first burial was lined by an oval setting of stones. A single monolith, about 2.4m tall, stood at the head. The body had long since decomposed, but evidence showed that it had been buried full-length, with the face covered by a wooden mask. The two Beaker pots had probably been left full of food and drink to sustain the dead person on their journey to the afterlife.

Later, two burial cists were added. These comprised stone-lined pits with a single massive capstone on top. A food vessel was found in one, and a single human cremation in the other. One cist bore three cup-marks pecked into a surface. These burials were covered by a stone cairn, 15m across and neatly edged with 21 kerb stones.

Finally, a much larger burial cairn was built. With a diameter of 30m, it completely covered the two earlier cairns. But it had no burial at its centre, just two cremation burials, in upturned, collared cinerary urns, placed in pits cut into the cairn."

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Wikipedia Url: [Web Link]

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