Alexander Thom B7/1  Class II Survey

Construction: Three hollow cairns with rings. On the NE circle we have drawn an egg type I which is based on a 6, 8, 10 triangle. This has a peri­meter of 125.36 my = 50.1 mr. The middle circle has a diameter of 104. 8 ft that is 38.5 my, perimeter 121.0 my =48.4 mr. The south circle has a diameter 104.1 ft which is 38.2 my and perimeter is 120.1 my = 48.1 mr. The small circle of stones to the north west has a diameter of 13 ft which is 4.8 my giving a perimeter of 15.0 my = 6.0 mr. There are remains of another circle about 16 my diameter to the east of the middle ring.

Clava Cairns B7-1

Note that the entrances to the two extreme cairns are on the same line and this line gives the position of the setting midwinter sun so at midwinter the sun would shine into these two chambers.

There is a stone in the SW circle which is aligned on the circle of small stones to the north west and the line from the circle to the stone gives the rising midwinter sun.

Similarly there is a stone in the centre circle which is aligned on the circle of small stones and this line picks up three other stones and gives the declination of the rising midsummer sun.

There are two co-linear stones in the central ring and this line shows the setting midsummer sun.

The altitudes of the estimated horizons are shown plotted in the top left hand corner except where these are hidden by a railway embankment.

A. Burl (Inverness 2a, b, c)

This NE-SW line of 3 Clava cairns, now in State care, lies at a height of 70 m O.D. 5 miles E of Inverness. The outer cairns are passage-graves. Between them is a ring-cairn. All stand on artificial platforms.

The SW passage-grave stood in a 12-stone ring 1 04 ft 1 in (31.7 m) in diameter, graded towards the SW. The ruined passage-grave, 52 ft 6 ins (16m has a SW entrance. There are cupmarks in the chamber and on the W circle stone. Excavation in 1828 recovered 2 broken pots and some cremated bone.

The ring-cairn has a restored stone circle 1 04 ft 9 ins (31.9 m) across. The oval cairn 60 x 52 ft (18.3 x 15.9 m) has a large central space where excavations in 1952 found charcoal and cremated bone. There are cupmarks on 2 kerbstones.

The NE passage-grave has a graded stone circle 114 ft 3 ins x 1 04 ft 2 ins (34.8 x 31.8 m) across. 1854 excavations in the wrecked chamber found 'a few bones'.


A. S. Henshall, Chambered Tombs of Scotland I, 1963, 361-6.

S. Piggott, PSAS 88, 1954-6, 173-207. A. Burl (1976), 160-7.

H. B. Somerville, Archaeologia 73, 1923, 217-22.