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Jan. 25. 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.
I have examined, perhaps, some hund different places, and find, by restorin have been demolished, they would all exactly with the plan and elevation a which was drawn from one that was s in the year 1777, at a place called t defs, in the parish of Foveran, Aberde
This particular temple, 46, feet in sisted of nine long stones, marked C i ced on end, in a circular form, at di equal, though not exactly so. The a this circle, is smooth, and somewhat 1 ground around it. By this means, an bank carried quite round between the s is still a little higher than the ground circular area has been very distinctly tween the two stones that are nearest line, on the south side of the area, is lai a long stone A, at each end of which a other stones, smaller than any of those outer circle. These are a little within th at a somewhat greater distance from one still farther, within the circular line, an other stones. These four stones are ma
D in the plan. Behind the large stone, raised fomething more than a foot high rest of the circular area; the form of w tinctly marked in the plan at B. It is pro
Of a Druidical temple on bill of Fiddefs, Aberdeenshire, as it stood in the
year 1777, but now (1792,) entirely demolished,
There is not the smallest mark of a
these stones; but they are sometime prisingly large dimensions, the horizo south side especially, which seems to ways chosen of the largest size that c They are seldom lefs than six or eight usually between ten and twelve; and that was near sixteen feet in length, an eight feet in diameter in any of its d appears to us amazing how, in the stones of such a size could have been n and yet they are so regularly placed, part of the circle, and so much detache stones as leaves not a pofsibility of doub have been placed there by design.
It does not seem, however, that th confined to any particular size or shape stones in these structures, for they are lar in these respects; only they seem al preferred the largest stones they could f as were smaller. Neither does there s been any particular number of stones any other; it seems to have been eno circle fhould be distinctly marked fhire of Nairn, where flat thin stone bound, I saw some structures of this kin stones almost touched one another all ro pears also by the plan annexed, that ex