Cist Burials

In contrast with the multiple, communal burials encountered in the earlier Neolithic period many Bronze Age  people were buried in individual stone lined graves called ‘cists’. Pots, weapons and personal adornments often accompanied the dead. Cist burials are often hard to detect, particularly from the air! Many were inserted into earlier chambered cairns, hidden for thousands of years amongst the stony mounds. Others have been found by accident, during ploughing, quarrying and road building, as at Achavanich. Here, the cist contained pottery used for storing a mixture of gruel, honey, meadowsweet, bramble and wood sage. This could be the earliest evidence of alcohol from Caithness!

Only a handful of these important monuments can now be visually inspected by the visitor, the one at Garrywhin, Yarrows shown here a rare example.

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