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Building a Chambered Cairn at Spittal  10 - 30 July 2004
by the Caithness Archaeological Trust (CAT) and Dr John Barber AOC Archaeology Group

Would You Like To Help Build The Chambered Cairn?  Or Just See what Is Going On.
Head For Spittal Quarry 9.30am Any Day Mon - Saturday
Other events and Special Children's Days

Starting the Cairn

Caithness contains some of the best-preserved archaeological sites in Scotland.  One of the most impressive monument types are the chambered cairns, great mounds of stone, used for burials by the first farmers around 6000 years ago. Caithness has many fine examples of which Camster is perhaps the most famous.  Chambered cairns would have been built by a local community working together.  Although many cairns have been excavated we know very little about how they were actually built, how long they would have taken to build, and how many times they collapsed!

The Caithness Archaeological Trust (CAT) is delighted to announce that between 10th and 30th July (excluding Sundays) we will be building parts of a chambered cairn at Spittal!   We will be directed by Dr John Barber, Director of AOC Archaeology Group, a leading expert in chambered cairn studies.  The overall aim of the project is to relive a community project carried out by our Caithness ancestors over 6000 years ago!  The project hopes to involve as much of the community as possible. Ideally, we hope that people of various ages and strengths will help us in every stage of the project, from collecting the stone, right through to building the cairn.

Allied to the chambered cairn building will be a series of landscape tours, lectures and children’s activities. Although children are encourage to attend at any time special children’s days have been organised for Saturday 17th and 24th between 10.00am and 16.00pm.  These days will involve a variety of activities from helping build the chambered cairn through to baking and pottery-making! So even if you don’t want to lift stones, you can still come and relive life in Spittal 6000 years ago! Anyone is welcome to attend for as long as they wish.

An evening lecture will take place on Monday 19th July 8.00pm at Spittal Village Hall. John Barber, Andy Heald and Lesley Myatt will give short presentations on aspects of the project and wider Caithness archaeology.   Everyone is invited to the free lecture.

If you would like to take part in the project either contact Andy Heald, Caithness Archaeological Trust, Old School House, Dunbeath, KW6 6EN or turn up at the entrance of A & D Sutherland Ltd quarries, Spittal at 9.30 on any of the days.  Full training will be given in all aspects of the project and safety. Please note that anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied and supervised by an adult at all times.

This ambitious project has only been possible due to the invaluable assistance of A & D Sutherland Ltd, AOC Archaeology Group, O’ Brien Construction Ltd, Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise and John Gunn & Sons Ltd to whom grateful thanks are given.

What A Chambered Cairn Looks Like

Chambered Cairn Of Get