Built some 4,000 years ago, Corrimony Cairn is a passage grave of the Clava type. Built by neolithic farmers, skilled in working stone, they were the first people to domesticate animals, till the land and clear the forests for farming, their society was cooperative.
Corrimony Chambered Cairn was built for collective burials, the beliefs of the builders remain unknown, it is believed these people existed from 3,500BC to 1,500Bc. Each group had their own collective tomb, built with the help of other groups in the area, with feasts and gifts being given to the helpers.
The astronomical alignment and orientation (the entrance passage is orientated towards the south west), has led people to suggest that the builders of Corrimony Chambered Cairn believed in the migration of the souls of the dead to the stars.
There is eveidence in some tombs that the bodies were prepared for the journey, with the bodies being dimembered, ceramic vessels shattered and animal bones indicate food offerings. Fires were then lit so the tomb acted as a crematorium.
Pieces of the original capstone, decorated with cup-mark designs, are still to be seen on top of the cairn. For a monument built four thousand years ago, Corrimony Chambered Cairnis remarkably well preserved, the best example in the region. Corrimony-cairn5.jpgIt was excavated in 1952, in the centre of the cairn there was only a dark stain visible evidence that any remains had deteriorated in the acid soil.
There are 12 standing stones surrounding Corrimony Cairn, is suspected that some of these may have been added since the building of the original cairn.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.