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Ballakelly Burial Cairn

Period: Neolithic

NGR Easting: 232140

NGR Northing: 471990

Description: Neolithic chambered tomb. The site consists of a simple rectangular chamber built of two very large side stones with an end stone wedged between them, opening to the SE. The chamber is exposed for its full height, roughly 1m - there is now no trace of a mound or cairn. A kerb of heavy stones, only one of which is missing, is set close to the chamber.

The chamber was already roofless in 1866, but cairn material existed within the kerb to the level of the chamber orthostats. A tall orthostat 3m to the East of the entrance appears to be an original feature. When surveyed in 1868 there were several prone slabs, one of which lay in front of the entrance and was thought to be part of the capstone. By 1872 this stone had been removed to the South and a fourth stone had appeared. The other prone slabs which today form a rough circle round the monument were added earlier this century, almost certainly as the result of agricultural activity.

Ballakelly is thought to be an early tomb with its small massively built rectangular chamber and minimal round cairn with flattened front; the detached standing stone is perhaps part of a proposed later elaboration of the front. The best parallells for this tomb, though not exact, seem to be in SW and S Scotland.

View map location on Archaeology Data Service

Site & Monument Type: Burial Cairn, Chambered

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: 1067.00

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