Baile Mhargaite Cist (01), Bettyhill, Sutherland

Cist:  OS Grid Reference – NC 69908 61102

Getting Here

Get yourself to the Baile Mhargaite Enclosure 1 and walk less than 150 yards southeast.  Keep your eyes keenly peeled on the ground as you can easily miss this one!

Archaeology & History

One of Baile Mhargaite's cists

One of Baile Mhargaite’s cists

The only archaeological note I can find of this small singular prehistoric grave is in the Canmore entry, which is far from clear as to the position and situation of many sites hereby.  They described this small sand-filled grave (which they describe as ‘Cist b’) as being “on a gravel ridge and is oriented N-S. It measures 0.8m by 0.6m.”  That’s it!

Looking down on the tomb

Looking down on the tomb

But saying that, it is a small single little thing amidst a huge mass of material.  It may well have been covered by a larger cairn at an earlier date, as there are many such monuments on this elevated sandy plain and the slight surround of smaller stones at, and just beneath the surface may validate this.  It is also possible that this was the spot where “beaker fragments…found in a cist at Bettyhill” came from, but the archaeological records (Abercromby 1912; Mitchell 1934) are not accurate.  Two other cists close by are the other potential candidates!

References:

  1.  Abercromby, John, A Study of the Bronze Age Pottery of Britain and Ireland – volume 1, Clarendon: Oxford 1912.
  2. Mitchell, Margaret E.C., “A New Analysis of the Early Bronze Age BeakerPottery of Scotland,”in Proceedings of the Society Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 68, 1934.

© 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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One Response to Baile Mhargaite Cist (01), Bettyhill, Sutherland

  1. That looks worth tracking down. I’m up at Ullapool soon but don’t think I’ll get that far north. I’ll probably wait till I go back to Durness for a week.

    BTW – you probably know the answer to something which has been bugging me for a bit. Years ago, when I used to tour around with my parents in the camping van, somewhere around Inverary/Loch Fyne (the quiet side of the loch I think), there was a Gypsy Wedding Heart in the road. Just basically a set of stones set in a small heart shape in the tarmac. It was on a really small back road near a junction I think and it’s where the travelling folk of the area used to get married. Have you ever seen it (or one like it) and do you know where I can find it again?
    Thanks, Carol.

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