Region : Lothian Home
District : West Lothian Map
Town or village : Torphichen List
Grid Reference : NS 987 717 Glossary
Period :  3rd mill. BC-AD 100 Bibliography
Cairnpapple Hill

Cairnpapple image

An important ceremonial and burial site, built on a hilltop in West Lothian. It was built in several phases; initially it was an arc of pits with cremated bones, then a ceremonial henge with an oval setting of upright stones. Later a massive cairn and an enlarged cairn were built and finally four Iron Age graves were added.
Phase I (c. 2800 BC): seven small pits (six of them with cremated bones) and three sockets for upright stones.
Phase II (c. 2500 BC): a henge measuring 38m x 44m, with an internal oval setting of 24 standing stones and two burials.
Phase III (c.2000-1600 BC): a massive cairn covering a cist burial. The grave was for the single burial of an important person. It lies in an oval setting of stones of about 3m x 2.7m. A massive upright stone 2.4m high marks the west side of the burial. The dead body laid out at full length, was wrapped in organic material and his face was covered by a wooden mask. Two Beaker pots and the remains of a wooden club were also found in the grave.
Phase IV (c.1800-400 BC): an enlarged cairn with two cremation burials in inverted cinerary urns.
Phase V (c. 100 BC-AD 100): four rectangular Iron Age graves.
In care of Historic Scotland