The discovery of a cursus monument site at Tormore on the Isle of Arran, which is more than a kilometre long, is helping to reshape Neolithic history in Scotland with such landmarks usually associated with the east coast.
Cursus monuments were often defined by long lines of timber posts, forming a long rectangle, and were amongst the most spectacular features in the Neolithic landscape. The posts may have served as a procession route, perhaps to honour the dead.
"I think if you asked the survey team what they thought they were most likely to find on Arran, I would bet you no one would say a Neolithic cursus monument
“There is no other on Arran, its unique on the island, there is one more in Kilmartin Glen and that is pretty much it for the western seaboard.
“What this example at Tormore tells is there are probably actually many more on them but because they were built from timber, you are not likely to see them in the unimproved peat landscape of the west coast
Six stone circles are visible on the moor immediately east of the derelict Moss Farm. Some circles are formed of granite boulders, while others are built of tall red sandstone pillars. The moor is covered with other prehistoric remains, including standing stones, burial cairns and cists. The stone circles are positioned over previous timber circles. A radiocarbon date of 2030 ± 180 BCE has been found for the timber circle at Machrie Moor . Several hut circles can also be seen as low rings of turf-covered stone.
Mick Harper wrote:The theory put forward in Megalithic Empire is that cursuses are designed to intercept travellers who have missed their mark, returning them safely to their immediate destination. I couldn't imagine that the Isle of Arran would be large enough to require such (is it?). .
Orkney 10,000 years ago was a very different place. The islands comprised a single land mass and many of the lands settled by Orkney’s early inhabitants now lie underwater
On the west coast of Arran, King’s Cave is where Sir Walter Scott said the 14th-century King Robert the Bruce encountered the struggling spider while he was defeated and on the run. It was that spider’s determination to spin its web that inspired Bruce to return to the mainland and defeat the English army.
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