Fanygalvan : Chambered Cairn

CountyClare
Grid RefR 254 971
GPSR 25437 97077 (3m)
Longitude9° 6' 40.42" W
Latitude53° 1' 9.23" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownKilfenora (7.7 Km)
OS Sheet51
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192

This is a subsite of:

Fanygalvan - Wedge Tomb
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Visit Notes

Wednesday, 17th March 2010

Just 50m to the east of the wedge tomb there is a large circle of stones that could be a fairly modern enclosure, but the proximity to so much prehistoric archaeology makes it likely to be old. Just outside the southern edge of this enclosure there is a small cairn, the top of which has been removed exposing a small cist.

The cist is only 30cm or so wide and is formed by two 1.5m long limestone slabs aligned north-south and blocked by smaller slabs across the ends. The cairn itself is about 1.5m high and 4m in diameter, making the cisy relatively large for the size of the cairn.

Wedge tombs are most easily catagorised by their main characteristic - they are taller and wider at the entrance than they are at the rear. Like court tombs they have a gallery which is split either by septal slabs or sill stones into smaller chambers. Galleries can be anything up to 8m in length.

The side walls are, uniquely, made of two rows of stones (three in some cases), which is refered to as double or triple walling. This double walling is perhaps the best feature to identify a wedge tomb by.

The roofs are constructed by laying large blocks or slabs across the gallery, resting on the tops of the walls.

They are often quite small, an amazing exception being Labbacallee (County Cork), one of the largest in Ireland. It is very rare to find a wedge tomb with its roof still in situ, although, occasionally, one or two of the roof slabs are present (see Proleek (County Louth)).

In some examples the roof would have extended beyond the front closing slab forming a portico at the front, which in a few specimens was split by a vertical stone place centrally in the entrance.

Like court tombs, portal tombs and passage tombs they were covered by a cairn, which, at many sites, it is still often possible to determine. A few, such as Burren SW (County Cavan), still retain a large proportion of the cairn.

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A Selection of Other Chambered Cairns

About Coordinates Displayed

This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.

Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.

Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.

The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.

UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.

ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.

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