Thursday, December 20, 2012

Picts and Shovels

Norman and I drove to Argyll last week. He wanted to show me a very special dry stone structure known as a Tumulus. It is an underground burial place - a chambered cairn. The actual place we went was Temple Wood, an ancient, probably Pictish site, located in Kilmartin Glen, Scotland. 

Presumably with the Picts first dug into the ground to create a large hole. Then large stones were manouvered into position around the outside edges of the hole and a crude corbelled roof was then constructed over the top using very large flat stones. 

Along with the chambered cairns there is also one of the earliest stone circles in Britain, dating to 3500 BC. The southern circle, 40 feet in diameter, contains 13 of the 22 original stones.  A burial cist is prominent in its center, and it is surrounded by a circle of stones some 10 feet in diameter. 

It was a fascinating place to explore. As with everything realted to ancient standing stone and megalithic sites there is not very much information as to why these structures were built. The origin of the name Picts is associated with the Roman word for painting. 

More pics tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. The Picts weren't around when the chambered cairns were in vogue as burial practices - their early ancestors built them..