Carabhat Barp

Carinish, Isle Of North Uist, Outer Hebrides, HS6 5HN

Type:Monuments & Ruins

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Although the mound of stones which made up the body of this grand burial tomb survives up to 2 meters high, many of its features have become obscured by the spreading of the stones and the building of later structures, particularly at the east end. However, it is trapezoidal in plan, measuring over 50 metres long by 25 metres at its east end. Indications survive of one of the horns from the wide shallow forecourt, which opened into a central chamber, the remains of which are still visible, as are some of the orthostatic slabs which defined the long sides of the cairn.

In 1987, some interesting archaeological evidence was exposed through peat cutting nearest to the cairn, and this was followed up by archaeological investigations the following year. This showed that a small settlement seems to have been associated with activity at the chambered cairn, consisting of slight stake and turf walled houses which were probably seasonally occupied, with stone-built hearths on which hazel, birch, willow and rowan were used as fuel around 2500 BC. Occupation debris included scatters of pottery and stone tools.

Some time later, after 1000 BC, a large rectangular enclosure 58 by 38 metres was built against the north side of the long cairn. This long time span indicates the continuing importance of the cairn to the people of the area, even if only for periodic festivals or burials, long after the spread of the peat had destroyed the agriculture around the site.

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