Ancient Monuments

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Dunan Beag, chambered cairn and standing stone

A Scheduled Monument in Ardrossan and Arran, North Ayrshire

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Latitude: 55.5506 / 55°33'2"N

Longitude: -5.1297 / 5°7'46"W

OS Eastings: 202677

OS Northings: 632995

OS Grid: NS026329

Mapcode National: GBR FGQ1.F27

Mapcode Global: WH1MY.5RK5

Entry Name: Dunan Beag, chambered cairn and standing stone

Scheduled Date: 29 July 1953

Last Amended: 17 October 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM396

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: long cairn

Location: Kilbride

County: North Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Ardrossan and Arran

Traditional County: Buteshire


The monument comprises the remains of a Neolithic chambered cairn and standing stone. The monument was originally scheduled in 1953 and was rescheduled in 1963, but the area covered by the designation did not relate accurately to the remains on the ground. The current rescheduling rectifies this.

The monument is situated in a forestry clearing on a lower SW facing slope of the Clauchland Hills at around 90m OD. This cairn lies only some 200m SW of the chambered cairn of Dunan Mor, although the latter is not visible from Dunan Beag because of the undulation of the hillside.

The monument comprises a heavily robbed Clyde-type long cairn. It was more complete when seen by Pennant in 1772: 'it was large, of an oblong form, and composed ... of round stones ... at one end of the cairn are several great stones, some extending beyond the cairn'. When Pennant visited, the chambers were fairly complete, with some capstones in place, but these had been removed by 1909.

The cairn now survives as a linear series of uneven low mounds of cairn material standing up to 1m in height, strung out in a line at least 42m long from N to S. This cairn material is spread across a width of about 16m at the rounded S end, and up to 24m at the N end. The precise plan of the N end is not evident, but there can be little doubt that originally there was a concave forecourt with a facade of orthostats (seen by Pennant) and square-ended horns, the total original width of the cairn being about 21m. The main entrance and chamber are at the N end with a second chamber in the S. The N chamber has three side slabs visible on its W side, with only one remaining on the E and one transverse slab; this chamber is about 4.8m in length. The S chamber has two pairs of exposed side slabs visible and a possible back stone; it is partly filled with stone debris and is about 2.7m in length.

The cairn was partly excavated in 1909 by Bryce, who found two adult inhumations in the inner compartment of the S chamber, and animal bones (ox and pig) in the outer compartment of the same chamber. Other finds included part of a Beaker and other pottery sherds; the end piece of a jet necklace and a triangular pendant of jet; a flint scraper and flake; and several struck pieces of pitchstone.

A prominent standing stone is situated about 15m ESE of the centre of the cairn. The stone stands about 2.2m in height and is 1.2m broad and 0.5m thick. Just N of the stone, a shallow pit covered by a slab produced charcoal and burnt bone when examined in 1910.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan and measures a maximum of 50m from NNE to SSW by 38m transversely.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric burial and ritual practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded in RCAHMS as NS 03 SW 8.


Bryce, T. H., Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot. 43 (1908-9), 341-50.

Henshall, A., 'The Chambered Tombs of Scotland', Vol. 2, 376.

Pennant, T., 'A Tour in Scotland'.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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