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Baliscate Standing Stones

Courtesy of Anita Tunstall

Courtesy of Anita Tunstall

The standing stones of the Isle of Mull are unique to the Western Isles and, indeed, the rest of Scotland, in that they are often arranged in the form of a small row of between three and five stones.  Although it has always been supposed that the three stones at Baliscate similarly formed a stone row, this was confirmed only during a two-week excavation in September 2004.  A small team from Manchester University, led by Joanna Wright, along with a number of local volunteers, excavated a small area surrounding the stones.

Before excavation the site comprised two standing stones with a recumbent or fallen stone positioned at right angles between them. Excavation revealed that the original position of the recumbent stone was approximately equidistant between the two upright standing stones.  In addition, the stump of a fourth, smaller stone was uncovered to the north of the row.  It appears to have been broken at some point in history and, until its recent discovery, was entirely covered by the peat.  Close to the base of this stone, cut into the prehistoric ground surface, a very small cremation burial was discovered, from which samples were taken for dating.  Prior to the excavation of this site, only two others have been excavated on the island, so that the information derived from this work will significantly enrich our understanding of the prehistory of the island.

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Courtesy of Anita Tunstall

Courtesy of Anita Tunstall

baliscate3 balliscate-2004

 

For more information click here to go to the ‘Stones of Wonder’  website by Robert Pollock.

Grid reference NM 499 541