3.2.5 Loch a'Bharp

This cairn is one of only two tombs on the island which is positioned with reference to the east coast of the island. The cairn lies at the south-east end of a valley, located on a small knoll in the centre of the valley approximately 15 metres above sea level. A short distance from the cairn lies Loch Boisdale which would have been connected to the sea during the Neolithic.

photo and drawn plan of cairn
Fig. 7. Loch a'Bharp. Photo looking south-east.

This is one of the best-preserved cairns on the island, comparable only with Reineval to the north. Much of the cairn material survives in situ along much of the corbelling in the chamber. It is around the southern side of the cairn, especially in the forecourt, where much of the cairn material has been displaced. This destruction seems to have been caused by later settlement activity, although it remains difficult to define any structures clearly. A peristalith of 16 kerb-stones survive, which suggest the cairn was originally approximately 26 metres in diameter. It appears that this cairn had a funnel-shaped forecourt leading to either a short passage or directly into the chamber. The chamber is very well preserved; only the capstone and a few corbelling stones have been removed to expose the upper part of the corbelled roof. Henshall (1972, 520) claims that a capstone once existed at the site but has been removed or displaced since. In situ corbelling survives around most of the chamber and up to three courses are visible in places. It is highly likely that most of the chamber survives intact beneath.


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Last updated: Tue Aug 8 2000