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Dalineun, chambered cairn 265m south of Dalaneas

A Scheduled Monument in Oban North and Lorn, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.3849 / 56°23'5"N

Longitude: -5.4358 / 5°26'8"W

OS Eastings: 187994

OS Northings: 726704

OS Grid: NM879267

Mapcode National: GBR DCYV.4XF

Mapcode Global: WH0GL.GSR3

Entry Name: Dalineun, chambered cairn 265m S of Dalaneas

Scheduled Date: 17 May 1979

Last Amended: 7 February 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4155

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: chambered cairn

Location: Kilmore and Kilbride

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Traditional County: Argyllshire


James Jerdan, 1891. 2-storey with basement, 7-bay half-timbered H plan Old English style former children's home. Red brick; painted harl nogging; painted timber framing and barge boards; red sandstone ashlar dressings.

N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: steps up to roll-moulded central doorway; long and short surrounds; corniced consoled pediment; bipartite window to 1st floor above. Flanking tripartite windows at ground; stone transoms and mullions; long and short surrounds; relieving arches; bipartite windows at 1st floor above. 3 light canted window at ground in flanking advanced gabled bays; cill course; tripartite windows at 1st floor. Single window at ground, bipartite window at 1st floor in recessed bays to outer left and right.

S ELEVATION: 2 storey with basement. 4 single windows at basement in

2 bay recessed central bay; small rectangular plan projection to right; 2 tripartite windows at ground and 1st floors. 2 single windows at basement in flanking advanced gabled bays; tripartite windows at ground and 1st floors.

E ELEVATION: 2-storey with basement and attic, 6-bay. Advanced gabled bay to right comprises 2 single windows at ground floor; single window at attic. Recessed bay to outer right comprises single window at ground. 4 bays recessed to left comprise from outer left at basement, single window, door, bipartite window, single window and door. Regular fenestration to ground and 1st floors; 1st floor windows bipartite.

W ELEVATION: 2-storey with basement and attic, 6-bay. Advanced gabled bay to left comprises 2 single windows at ground floor; single window at attic. Recessed bay to outer left comprises single window at ground. 4 bays recessed to right comprise from outer right at basement, single window, door, single window, bipartite window, single window. Regular fenestration to ground and 1st floors; 1st floor windows bipartite.

Variety of glazing patterns, including 12-pane timber sash and case windows, 6-pane upper sashes with 2-pane lower sashes, and small pane casement windows. Grey slate roof; 4 tall corbelled brick chimney stacks.

INTERIOR: not seen 1997.

BOUNDARY WALLS AND OUTBUILDINGS: sandstone rubble wall to N, E and W (fence to S) with pedestrian entrance at centre; vehicular entrances to outer right and left Half-timbered piended roof outbuilding to E; half-timbered pitch-roofed outbuilding to S.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics:

The monument is a Clyde-type chambered cairn. Researchers attribute this type predominantly to the third millennium BC. Clyde cairns typically consist of an inner chamber or chambers built of massive slabs, frequently built up with dry-stone walling and packed with smaller stones. Their chambers are often situated on an artificially raised platform, enclosed by a kerb of stones, with a recessed front. Chambers may have received burials over a long period of time and there is often evidence for complex development sequences.

This monument was partly excavated by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) in 1970-1. The excavation indicated that the cairn is the product of four distinct phases. Initially, the main burial chamber was erected within a heel-shaped cairn. The chamber measures 2.5m NE-SW by 1.2m transversely and stands up to 1.4m tall. It consists of six large slabs roofed by a massive capstone. Two of the stones stand on either side of the entrance. A lintel which once spanned the entrance was found dislodged outside the tomb. Sockets for a dividing slab indicate that the chamber was once divided into two compartments. Neolithic pottery, flint flakes and sherds of early Bronze Age beaker pottery were found inside the chamber. In a second phase of construction, a small cist less than 0.6m long was inserted in front of the entrance to the chamber. It had been used for a cremation burial and contained cremated bones. In the third phase, stones were piled in front of the tomb, perhaps to effect a ritual blocking of the earlier monument and producing the oval-shaped cairn visible today. Finally, in the fourth phase, the large cist that is still visible was inserted behind the main chamber. Cremated bone and a Bronze Age food vessel were found close to the N side of the chamber.

The monument survives in stable condition. About half of the cairn has not been excavated and, although it has suffered some stone robbing, there is good potential for the survival of buried archaeological evidence that can tell us more about the cairn and its history of use and reuse. The intact portion of the cairn may contain additional human remains and ritual deposits and has the potential to add complexity to the story of the cairn's development. Surviving deposits may include charcoal, botanical remains and traces of the original ground surface. They can tell us about dating, ritual activity, pyre technology, the nature of the contemporary environment and climate and, possibly, early farming activity and settlement more generally. Future research on this cairn could allow us to refine our understanding of the development sequence and its chronology and duration of use, and give further insights into the use and evolution of beliefs and funerary practices in the late Neolithic and Bronze Age.

Contextual characteristics

Chambered cairns are often found on or close to good arable or pasture land, as in this example, which lies just above the valley floor. They have particular importance as the most prominent remains of early societies whose domestic houses, farms and field systems have so far proved difficult to identify in the archaeological record. The study of their distribution can tell us about the economy and settlement patterns in the vicinity. Chambered cairns are often situated close to other cairns or other ritual or funerary sites. The Dalineun cairn lies close to several other chambered cairns in the Cleigh area, including one cairn sited on a natural feature known as the Serpent Mound only 200m to the N, and another with a large cist or small chamber located 400m to the SSE. Indeed, the concentration of ritual sites in this vicinity is so great that the area between Loch Nell and the sea can be identified as a ritual landscape comparable to Kilmartin Glen. It is probable that the monuments here were created over many centuries, reflecting the re-use and veneration of earlier foci of ritual activity.

This monument was originally a heel-shaped cairn, which has prompted the suggestion that it bears comparison with court cairns in Northern Ireland. Further study of this site and others in the vicinity may help us to gain a better understanding of contacts between western Scotland and Ireland in this period, and indeed throughout the British Isles, including the movement of peoples and ideas. The NE-SW alignment of the chambered cairn is typical of this monument type.

Associative characteristics

The site is annotated as 'Cist' on the Ordnance Survey 1st edition map. The site was described and illustrated as early as 1869 by the antiquarian Angus Smith, and by Pitt-Rivers in 1885.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, particularly the design and construction of burial monuments, the nature of burial practices, and their significance in prehistoric and later society. Chambered cairns provide the chief material evidence for the Neolithic in this part of Scotland. Buried evidence from chambered cairns can enhance our knowledge about wider prehistoric society and economy, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contact with. This monument is particularly valuable because of its location within a significant cluster of funerary sites. Its loss would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape and the meaning and importance of death and burial in prehistoric times.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Appears on Ordnance Survey map 1895; AS Cowper HISTORIC CORSTORPHINE AND ROUNDABOUT Vol 4 (1991) p22; Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1991) p528.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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