September 25, 2022

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Cairn Holy Chambered Cairn I & II in Scotland

Cairn Holy is comprised of two chambered cairns situated just over 400 feet from each other. The name Cairn Holy comes from the Gaelic “Carn na h-ulaidhe” which means “cairn of the stone tomb.”

Both tombs are open to the elements having been robbed of their original covering stones, which were most likely used to create field dykes and walls.

Cairn Holy I is considered the more elaborate of the two. The curving, crescent-shaped façade of tall, pillar stones once formed a backdrop for a forecourt situated in front of the tomb. Fires were lit in front of the façade, possibly as part of ritual ceremonies.

The tomb was comprised of an inner and an outer tomb. The inner compartment was built as a closed box, originally it had a capstone roof. Some of the stone slabs making up the inner burial chamber are carved with cup and ring marks. It is believed that the outer chamber, façade, and forecourt were added later.

According to legend, Cairn Holy II is the burial chamber for the Scottish King, Galdus. However, in truth, the cairn is much older. 

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