Battle Hill Dolmen, Huntly, Aberdeenshire

Cairn (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NJ 542 401

Archaeology & History

In a short article, ‘Dolmens in Scotland’, written by Dr H.O. Forbes in the esteemed Antiquity journal of June 1929, Dr Forbes reported the former existence of a dolmen-like monument that stood,

“some 70 years ago…at the north or northwestern extremity of Battle Hill which looks down on the town of Huntly on the River Bogie in Aberdeenshire.  In walking from Drumblade to the town, about 3 miles off, one usually took a short cut over Battle Hill.  This bypath diverged from the turnpike road leading north to Banff and led to the top of Battle Hil (400ft), close past the edge of the wood, a few yards within which stood this monument.  It was a typical dolmen, of which I retain a perfectly clear recollection, with its large granite capstone supported by three massive, rudely shaped pillars.  On the aspect towards the bypath, there were some blocks of stone on the ground which may have constituted a fourth pillar or the ruins of a dromos, otherwise the dolmen was in excellent preservation.  It stood about 6 to 7 feet high above the ground level, for I remember it took some climbing for me as a small boy to get on top.”

Folklore

Dr Forbes also described several legends attached to this long forgotten old tomb.  He told “that it was a ruined druid’s altar; that the stones were dropped down through a hole in the devil’s apron when on his way to Knock Hill to deposit the cloven-stone there (a large glacial erratic); and that it is the tomb of a great warrior.”  A story that we find at a number of prehistoric tombs in both Britain and abroad.  At some nearby tumuli, legend told that they stood on the site of a great battle.

References:

  1. Forbes, H.O., ‘Dolmens in Scotland,’ in Antiquity journal, volume 3, June 1929.
  2. Grinsell, Leslie, Folklore of Prehistoric Sites in Britain, David & Charles: Newton Abbot 1976.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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About megalithix

Occultist, prehistorian and independent archaeological researcher, specializing in prehistoric rock art, Neolithic, Bronze Age & Iron Age sites, and the animistic cosmologies of pre-Christian & traditional cultures.
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