Enclosure: OS Grid Reference – NN 90732 41196
Also Known as:
- Canmore ID 26252
- Southern Enclosure
Take the directions to find the Carn Ban giant cairn. Once there, you’re in the middle of the enclosure—or near enough!
Archaeology & History
This is one of several very large extensive prehistoric enclosures that stretch across the undulating rocky plains of this wild moorland, high up below the mountain-tops south of Aberfeldy. Although humans are scarce up here nowadays, in ancient times it was a very different ballgame.
Extensive and well constructed walling, measuring an average of 2-3 yards across and several feet high in places, encircles the giant White Cairn some distance away from it, running for a third-of-a-mile (0.5km) in a contorted oval shape. The walling is pretty much continuous except for where the modern tracks have destroyed two sections of it (and other monuments within) and where entrances or ‘doors’ allowed access on the west, north and eastern sides. The circuitous route of the walls appears to start and end at a small unnamed stream at its southern end.
Inside the perimeter walls, there are scattered examples of simple hut circles and cairns—some singular, others for families, and others that may be clearance cairns. It’s difficult to say without excavations. On the top northwestern side of the enclosure there is another, smaller enclosure attached to the main mass—seemingly earlier in construction than the giant creature its attached to—which overlooks the curious Shaman’s Lodge double hut-circle 75 yards to the west. This and much of the internal area was, when we visited, covered in extensive and deep heather, so we couldn’t get a clear picture of the entire site.
We might never know exactly how many people used this site, but we can say with some certainty, due to the remains found inside and around the place, that it was used by lots of people over many centuries, not just for what modern homo-profanus defines as ‘utilitarian’ purposes, but also important rituals were practised herein (though we are looking at an ahistorical period before the boundary of ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’ had been defined).
For antiquarians and explorers, this region is a must! A weekend of sleeping rough up here might well be in order!
- Stewart, Margaret E.C., “Strath Tay in the Second Millenium BC – A Field Survey”, in Proceedings Society Antiquaries Scotland, volume 92, 1961
Acknowledgements: Huge thanks again to Paul Hornby for his assistance with site inspection, and additional use of his photos.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian