This is a photograph of the main tomb of Clava. You can also see the circle of stones surrounding the tomb.
Click on image for full size
Photo courtesy Diego Meozzi/Stone Pages

The Cairns of Clava

Not too far from Loch Ness, where the green highlands of Scotland rise and fall there lies three giant cairns of stones. They are called the Balnuaran of Clava.

The Balnuaran of Clava, giant tombs encased in stone, can be found close to Inverness in Scotland. Their structure is similar to the Newgrange tomb of Ireland in that stones encase a burial chamber. Human bones were found in two of the cairns. The third had flint flakes inside it. It seems that these weren't a common burial ground for all, but a burial ground for elite male and female members of this Neolithic community.

As with other megalithic sites, this site does have astronomical alignment. Two of the three cairn entrance passages align exactly with the Sun's setting position on the winter solstice. And so this site might have been used at some point for sky observing and astronomical purposes.

As seen from the photograph, each of these giant tombs is encircled by a set of standing stones. While the cairns were built during the Neolithic period, it is thought that the standing stones were added later during the Bronze Age.

Last modified September 18, 2000 by Jennifer Bergman.

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