Ancient Monuments

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Loch Ciaran, standing stone 1430m south west of Achaglass

A Scheduled Monument in Kintyre and the Islands, Argyll and Bute

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.7356 / 55°44'7"N

Longitude: -5.537 / 5°32'13"W

OS Eastings: 178042

OS Northings: 654796

OS Grid: NR780547

Mapcode National: GBR DFQK.6JX

Mapcode Global: WH0KT.X3HC

Entry Name: Loch Ciaran, standing stone 1430m SW of Achaglass

Scheduled Date: 29 September 1936

Last Amended: 10 May 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM212

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: standing stone

Location: Kilcalmonell

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Kintyre and the Islands

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

The monument is a prehistoric standing stone likely to date to the third or second millennium BC. It survives as an upstanding monolith which tapers towards its top. The stone stands c 2m high with a slight lean and measures approximately 0.8m by 0.4m at its base. The standing stone is located in a conifer plantation on the N side of a metalled track. It sits at 130m above sea level and overlooks Loch Ciaran to the S. The monument was first scheduled in 1936, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, measuring 8m in diameter, centred on the standing stone. The scheduling includes the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

This standing stone survives in good condition and is a fine representative of its class. The stone appears intact, undisturbed and in its original position. Lichens cover approximately 60% of the visible surface. An inscription carved relatively recently on its E face comprises five, capitalised and punctuated serif letters: J.K.S.M.T.

There is good potential for the survival of archaeological deposits and features relating to the stone's erection and use, possibly including burial deposits and associated artefacts, and environmental information. It is highly likely that the stone's socket and related archaeological deposits are undisturbed.

This standing stone has the potential to enhance our understanding of the function of standing stones in the later Neolithic and Bronze Age, and to provide important information about the landscape, climate and vegetation at the time the stone was erected. Its position within the landscape is undoubtedly significant and merits further analysis. It could further our understanding of the positioning of standing stones and other ritual monuments in relation to each other and in the landscape, and of the significance of these monuments to the societies that built and used them.

Contextual characteristics

Standing stones are a widespread and long-lived phenomenon in Scotland, and are sometimes all that survives of more elaborate and extensive monuments, such as stone circles, alignments or avenues. Single standing stones are particularly numerous in Argyll, with more than 180 recorded.

Significant effort would have been required to transport, position and erect the stone, which suggests that both this activity and this location were important to those who erected it here. The locations of standing stones often appear to have been selected to take advantage of views and inter-visibility with other monuments, or on natural route-ways. Many are visible from great distances and perhaps mark a significant area or territory. Standing stones may have been part of a network of related landmarks. They are often located with reference to other ritual or burial monuments, such as henges, stone circles or cairns, and may themselves have formed part of some ceremonial or ritual activity. Together these types of monuments appear to reflect a complex system of belief and ritual practices involving burial and commemoration of the dead, spiritual ceremonies and celestial observations.

The Loch Ciaran standing stone is unusual in that it appears to be a relatively isolated example, with few recorded prehistoric monuments in the vicinity, although its current location within a conifer plantation probably masks its full context and associations. It lies 180m W of the NE end of Loch Ciaran, and around 4km from the nearest coastline on the Sound of Gigha.

Associative characteristics

The inscription on the E face is relatively recent, but testifies to people's continuing interest in the stone through the ages. The standing stone is shown adjacent to a track or roadway on the Ordnance Survey 2nd edition map.

This monument is of national importance as a well-preserved example of a common type of ritual or ceremonial monument dating to the late Neolithic or Bronze Age. The standing stone has the potential to tell us more about the activities that took place at sites such as this, as well as the wider beliefs and lifestyles of the prehistoric people who erected and used standing stones. The loss of this example would significantly impede our ability to understand the nature of prehistoric ritual practices, activities, beliefs and social organisation in Argyll and further afield.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, 1971, An inventory of the ancient monuments of Argyll, volume 1: Kintyre. Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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