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Meayll Circle, Rushen

Period: Neolithic

NGR Easting: 218950

NGR Northing: 467780

Description: Neolithic chambered cairn. The Meayll Circle is an unique monument unlike any of the other Neolithic chambered tombs known on the Isle of Man, and has few if any direct parallels within the British Isles. It was constructed more than 5,000 years ago, and when complete would have appeared as a circular cairn of stones positioned on a prominent shelf on the side of the hill. Now only the burial chambers survive, and the cairn has long been robbed of its stone.

The structure consisted of six stone-built passages positioned around the circumference of a circle. Each passage led a short distance into the circle before splitting into two stone chambers where the burials were placed. Between each of the six entrances the outline of the circle was defined by a wall which once contained the cairn that covered the chambers. The cairn was about 18m across, and perhaps once stood up to 4m high.

When the site was investigated in the early 1900s, small quantities of Neolithic pottery and worked flints were found in some of the twelve chambers, together with a few small pieces of cremated human bone. The excavations also revealed what may have been an even earlier chamber near the centre of the circle.

Through its carefully selected location the cairn was designed to attract attention to itself, a quality which may have been enhanced using white quartz to build the cairn.

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Site & Monument Type: burial cairn, chambered

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: 1060.00

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