A huge monument “cursus”, an ancient ritual site, built around the same time as Stonehenge, has been discovered on the Scottish island of Arran.
The ruins of Kors, constructed during the Neolithic period (4000 BC to 2500 BC) are long, rectangular enclosures of earthwork, meaning that they are built by modifying the earth. Tall enclosures were often marked by wooden poles and were used in ceremonial processions, perhaps to honor the dead or ancestor worship. During some of those ceremonies, the old people would burn poles of wood, According to The ScotsmanThat reported the results for the first time.
Site explorer Dave Cowley, director of the Archaeological Express Program at Historic Environment Scotland, told The Scotsman that the special memorial, which remained in the shape of two parallel mounds, had wooden elements incorporated into it. Whether or not it was set on fire, we don’t know at the moment.
Cowley and his team first discovered the site of the monument in 2017 while they were conducting aerial surveys of the Scottish island using a technology called light detection and rangefinding (lidar), which detects hidden structures by striking the ground with a laser and measuring the light that reflects back. . Lidar revealed two roughly parallel lines spanning about 0.68 miles (1.1 km) and the distance was between 98 and 131 feet (30 and 40 meters).
The team conducted field visits to the Korsos monument between late 2017 and 2019. Those visits on foot did not reveal much: “Both banks are slight in nature and barely visible on the ground,” the team wrote in The field notes were posted online.
Although the structure is tall, the individual hills inside are only about 10.8 feet (3.3 m) thick and about 1 foot (0.3 m) high. “They appear discontinuous, and consist of dirt or grass with very little visible stones,” the team wrote. But “it is impossible to say” whether the structure was designed with joints in the ridges or whether it appeared over the years as a result of natural processes. However, the researchers do not believe the rectangular structure has a roof.
While approximately 70 of these monuments are found throughout Scotland, most of them are on the east coast, this is the only one found on the Isle of Aran. Therefore, Cowley told Live Science in an email: “It is probably the focus of the communities scattered across the island.” There are still other types of Neolithic relics unearthed on the island. This is an interesting addition to the Neolithic Antiquities ‘Collection’ at Aran, and indicates that there may be more of these monuments to be discovered on the West Coast.
The hull can also be part of something bigger.
“There might be other buried landmarks that we can’t see on the surface,” Cowley said. “Very few archaeological sites have been excavated in Scotland, and whether this will depend on research and funding questions.”
Originally published on Live Science.