The Clava cairn is a type of Bronze Age circular chamber tomb cairn, named after the group of 3 cairns at Balnuaran of Clava, to the east of Inverness. There are about 50 cairns of this type in an area round about Inverness.

At Balnuaran of Clava itself there is a group of three Bronze Age cairns which lie close together in a line running north east to south west. The tombs at either end are of the passage grave sub-type. The central cairn is of the ring cairn sub-type, and uniquely has stone paths or causeways forming 'rays' radiating out from the platform round the kerbs to three of the standing stones. The cairns incorporate cup and ring mark stones, carved before they were built into the structures. The kerb stones are graded in size and selected for colour, so that the stones are larger and redder to the south west, and smaller and whiter to the north east. All these elements seem to have been constructed as one operation and indicate a complex design rather than ad hoc additions.

The ring round the northern Balnuaran of Clava cairn was measured and analysed by Professor Alexander Thom. He found that the ring was slightly egg-shaped with a complex geometry of circles and ellipses which could be set out around a central triangle, using sizes which are close to whole multiples of what he called the Megalithic yard. While the geometry of the shape is generally accepted, the Megalithic Yard is more controversial.



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User Reviews

Aaron Ramey Sr. (10 months ago)
Super old burial ground from around 2000 B.C. Middle of nowhere. Interesting self guided tour around the grounds. Signs are setup for you to read and learn about the place.
Nancy Osborne (10 months ago)
Well worth a quick stop. A short pleasant walk gets you to a few more stones and a great view of the Culloden viaduct. Plus it's free.
Stuart (10 months ago)
Decent amount of parking. This place is amazing to think of how long it's been around. It's a little out of the way but worth it. Really needs to be seen and also really needs protection from the public. So not sure how much longer we'll get access .
i witfit (10 months ago)
This is a wonderful site but with a tour guide clambering over the Cairns I can see this going the same way as Stonehenge and being sealed off from the public for heritage to be saved.. lots of other boulders in the surrounding lands - obviously part of the cairns make.
Liane Vaz (11 months ago)
Definitely a must visit if you love the lore of ancient stone formations. I would also recommend reading up a bit before going in, as there is not much in the way of plaques or on-site reading material to guide you through what you are looking at or what to look for. A fun experience especially for Outlander fans ;)
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