Aird ma-Rhuibhe

Berneray, Isle Of North Uist, Outer Hebrides, HS6 5BD

Type:Monuments & Ruins

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This is a rare example of a distinctive group of cairns known as Pictish square cairns, more commonly found in Eastern and Northern Scotland. Built up from the bedrock in a prominent position, a large stone-built platform measuring 3 metres square was raised. There may have been wooden posts set at the north and south corners, perhaps even decorated with Pictish symbols, of which nothing now survives. The grave itself was constructed diagonally between the north and south corners, again built up from the bedrock, and the body would have been laid fully extended within, although no human remains survived. Then a cairn of pebbles was raised over the entire monument.

Surprisingly, the pebbles seem to have been gathered from field clearance in different areas of Berneray rather than from the nearby shore, so they may have had particular symbolic significance.

Two other square cairns to be found in the Outer Hebrides are in South Uist at Cille Pheadair and South Glendale. The burial at Cille Pheadair was dated to about 700 AD, and contained the body of a woman aged about 40. The closest parallels for the Uist burial cairns are found in Shetland.

The Picts were inhabitants of northern Scotland between the 3rd and 9th centuries AD. The heartland of their culture is found in north and east Scotland, but we do not know whether the people of the Hebrides considered themselves to be part of that group of people, or whether the Picts were a distinct people who traded and occasionally settled here.

This cairn was identified in 1998 during archaeological survey in advance of the building of the causeway and the new ferry slipway.

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What's Nearby

  1. A large seal with a forehead and less spots than the Harbour Seal. Males can be up to 3.3…

    0.06 miles away
  2. Common seals are brown, tan, or grey, with distinctive V-shaped nostrils.

    0.06 miles away
  3. At Beinn a'Chlaidh - Hill of the Graveyard - there is a standing stone.

    0.53 miles away
  1. Giant Mackaskill Monument is located ti the South of Berneray.

    1.16 miles away
  2. Seal viewing point

    1.3 miles away
  3. Loch Bhurigh is easily accessible from the machair to the south of the island.

    1.33 miles away
  4. These two converted blackhouses now form the Berneray hostel site of the Gatliff Trust…

    1.45 miles away
  5. This is a large, heavy-billed diver can resemble a goose, especially in flight.

    1.48 miles away
  6. A truly stunning beach and was voted in 2021 as no. 3 in Lonely Planet's Top 20 Best…

    1.67 miles away
  7. The Birlinn Yarn Company studio sells locally sourced yarn in a range of natural blends…

    1.67 miles away
  8. Download the Uist Unearthed app and discover two sites in one at Dùn an Sticir! Watch the…

    1.74 miles away
  9. The remains of a stronghold occupy the whole of a tiny islet in the middle of the tidal…

    1.77 miles away
  10. Berneray and the nearby island of Pabbay lie in the Sound of Harris between North Uist…

    1.79 miles away
  11. Ben Ghainche is a small hill situated at the north end of the beach at Bearsdaire

    2.26 miles away
  12. The Sound of Harris ferry runs between Berneray and Leverburgh. The route meanders round…

    3.09 miles away
  13. Larger of two British seal species.

    3.12 miles away
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