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In later times, atrocious murderers were usually covered with a heap of stones by the way-side, which were also called cairns. But these are so small, in comparison of the former, as never to be in danger of being confounded with them.
Ofsian frequently mentions the " four grey stones" as the mark of burial places in his time. It is somewhat surprizing that no travellers have remarked any monuments of this kind in the highlands at present. But the natives have little curiosity, and pafs by things, that they have been accustomed to see from their infancy as matters of no moment. When I was in the highlands, some years ago, I saw something a little way from the road side that attracted my attention. On going up to it I found several graves, bounded each by four flat stones, set on edge like those described by Ofsian. Two long stones were placed on each side, about three feet distant from each other, the two at each end narrower, and distant from one another a little more than six feet. The whole was rude and inartificial. It was in the county of Caithnefs, where long flat stones are very common. I was, you may believe, extremely desirous of learning if there was any tradition in the country relating to this; but although it was within half a mile of a gentleman's house, and not above thirty yards from the highway, I found, upon enquiry, that the gentleman had never observed it himself, nor heard any thing about it till I told him of it.
III. The long stones set on end in the earth are, with still greater certainty, known to be monuments
erected to perpetuate the memory of some signal event in war. These are probably of later date than the cairns; for there is hardly one of them whose traditional history is not preserved by the country people in the neighbourhood: Nor is it difficult on many occasions to reconcile these traditional narratives with the records of history. On some of these stones is found a rude kind of sculpture; as on the long stone near Forress, in the shire of Moray, and on those at Aberlemno in the shire of Angus; but in general the stones are entirely rude and unfashioned, just as they have been found in the earth.
It is probable that this kind of monument has been first introduced into Britain by the Danes; as almost all the traditional stories relate to some transaction with the Danes, or other memorable event since the period when that northern people infested this country; and I have never heard of any of them in the internal parts of the highlands, though they are numerous along the coasts every where. It is certain, however, that the Britons adopted this method of perpetuating the memory of remarkable events, as appears by Piercy's cross in Northumberland, which is a modern monument belonging to this class.
IV. The stones placed in a circular form, as being lefs known than the former, and confined to a narrower district, deserve to be more particularly described.
These, from their situation and form, have apparently been places destined for some particular kind of religious worship. They are for the most part pla VOL. vii.
ced upon an eminence, usually on that side of it which declines towards the south, and seem to have been all formed after one plan, with little variation. I have examined, perhaps, some hundreds of them, in different places, and find, by restoring the parts that have been demolished, they would all coincide very exactly with the plan and elevation annexed to this, which was drawn from one that was still very entire in the year 1777, at a place called the Hill of Fiddefs, in the parish of Foveran, Aberdeenshire.
This particular temple, 46, feet in diameter, consisted of nine long stones, marked C in the plan, placed on end, in a circular form, at distances nearly equal, though not exactly so. The area E, within this circle, is smooth, and somewhat lower than the ground around it. By this means, and by a small bank carried quite round between the stones, which. is still a little higher than the ground about it, the circular area has been very distinctly defined. Between the two stones that are nearest the meridian, line, on the south side of the area, is laid, on its side, a long stone A, at each end of which are placed two other stones, smaller than any of those that form the outer circle. These are a little within the circle, and at a somewhat greater distance from one another; and still farther, within the circular line, are placed two other stones. These four stones are marked DD Dr D in the plan. Behind the large stone, the earth is raised fomething more than a foot higher than the rest of the circular area; the form of which is distinctly marked in the plan at B. It is probable that on,
PLAN AND ELEVATION
Of a Druidical temple on bill of Fiddefs, Aberdeenshire, as it stood in the yar 1777, but now (1792,) entirely demolished.
this stage the priest officiated at the religious ceremonies, the large stone supplying the place of an altar, or a rostrum.
There is not the smallest mark of a tool on any of these stones; but they are sometimes found of surprisingly large dimensions, the horizontal one on the south side especially, which seems to have been always chosen of the largest size that could be found. They are seldom lefs than six or eight feet in length, usually between ten and twelve; and I met with one that was near sixteen feet in length, and not less than eight feet in diameter in any of its dimensions. It appears to us amazing how, in these rude times, stones of such a size could have been moved at all; and yet they are so regularly placed, in the proper part of the circle, and so much detached from other stones as leaves not a possibility of doubting that they have been placed there by design.
It does not seem, however, that they have been confined to any particular size or shape of any of the stones in these structures, for they are quite irregu lar in these respects; only they seem always to have. preferred the largest stones they could find, to such as were smaller. Neither does there seem to have been any particular number of stones preferred to any other; it seems to have been enough that the circle fhould be distinctly marked out. In the fhire of Nairn, where flat thin stones much abound, I saw some structures of this kind where the stones almost touched one another all round. It appears also by the plan annexed, that exact regula