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Clava Cairns, Culloden Moor

Ruin · Hidden Gem · Historic Site
The Clava cairn is a type of Bronze Age circular chamber tomb cairn, named after the group of three cairns at Balnuaran of Clava, to the east of Inverness in Scotland. There are about 50 cairns of this type in an area round about Inverness. They fall into two sub-types, one typically consisting of a corbelled passage grave with a single burial chamber linked to the entrance by a short passage and covered with a cairn of stones, with the entrances oriented south west towards midwinter sunset. In the other sub-type an annular ring cairn encloses an apparently unroofed area with no formal means of access from the outside. In both sub-types a stone circle surrounds the whole tomb and a kerb often runs around the cairn. The heights of the standing stones vary in height so that the tallest fringe the entrance (oriented south west) and the shortest are directly opposite it.

Where Clava-type tombs have still contained burial remains, only one or two bodies appear to have been buried in each, and the lack of access to the second sub-type suggests that there was no intention of re-visiting the dead or communally adding future burials as had been the case with Neolithic cairn tombs.

Use our Culloden Moor driving holiday site to visit Clava Cairns on your trip to Culloden Moor, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Clava Cairns reviews

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681 reviews
  • To some these are just piles of stones and to others these are sites of history and mystery and even veneration for the people we once were and respect for the people that we still are. There have...  more »
  • There was quite a bit here to see as there were several clairns dating from around 5000BC. A lovely peaceful place with placards explaining the history. There are not toilets or food here but a...  more »
  • We visited this hidden gem and definitely recommend that it is worth a short visit. An interesting intriguing sight, free of. Charge.  more »
  • By far one of the most interesting sites I have visited in Scotland. Very beautiful place with a mystic charm. Amazing
  • As a Outlander Fan it was very special to be able to visit this place. I felt a calm, mystical feeling walking around here. An experience I will always remember.
  • Awesome place! Definitely worth the trip out of the city. Ended up walking there from Inverness which is a bit of a hike but it was fun. Probably the oldest bit of history I've seen.
  • Nice place to stop and visit. The structures and stones are amazing. Great history, and the area is well maintained. Stopped here after visiting the Culloden Battlefield. Parking was ample for the time we visited as it was not busy.
  • This is an amazing slice of history. The space is well maintained and very somber. Not exciting if you're looking for fun, fascinating if you're looking for history.

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