Cat drags in new theory on cairns
The actions of a domestic cat have thrown up a new theory about ancient stone burial cairns in Caithness.
This is taken from an online article by the BBC.
Archaeologists built a mock-up of the structures as part of an experiment.
Archaeologists built reconstructions of burial cairns and ancient towers called brochs as part of a series of research projects and excavations carried out in Caithness over the summer.
Emma Sanderson, of Caithness Archaeology Trust, said it was found that a dead rabbit had been left in the replica by a cat.
She said it could mean that animal bones found in real cairns were not the remains of ceremonial offerings, as thought, but left by other creatures. The cat's dead rabbit has provided a new theory that they had been killed by other animals years after the cairn had fallen into disrepair.
Another theory about cairns may also have been exploded after archaeologists knocked down their mock-up.
It was noted that the stones collapsed in a pattern previously thought to be evidence of ceremonial closing of the cairn.
Prince Charles, who is on holiday at Castle of Mey, visited the ruins of a broch near Keiss this week.
To add my notes .....
Its also worth taking a look at the Caithness web site.
I did live outside Thurso, Caithness, for a few years in the 80s and the county is abundant in many unique ancient sites.
The above findings go towards something I have believed for a long time.
First, I am usually disturbed when I read about ceremonial sacrifices as they are usually described in the most macabre and occultism way possible which, I feel, mask the entire understanding and truth.
All cultures seem to preserve some festivity where the meat of the meal is something special. The USA Thanksgiving turkey is perhaps the most famous. The British Christmas dinner was similar but is now a fading tradition in its diversity.
Many years ago this was not done with the convenience of going to the butcher or supermarket and slamming the meat into the oven. Someone had to slaughter the bird or animal ready for the feast. The slaughtering was bound to have caused loss of blood. To me it seems to make sense to surround this slaughter with some reflection of even ritual for either thankgiving or forgiving the taking of a life. Collecting the blood from such slaughter does seem to imply respect rather than just let it fall to the ground and make a mess.
I do believe something as simple as this basic blessing has amplified into horrific sacrifice stories.
A cat bringing its prey into the sanctuary of a sacred place also introduces symbolic thoughts.
I'm also thrilled at the discovery of the closing cairn through its natural decomposition. The idea of these cairns being tombs is way beyond my belief. Like the cat, I believe that it was races of milleniums after the builders of these cairns that found them "handy" as places to lay the dead. I believe they were built to connect with ancestors, not dump them.
Finally, its nice to see Prince Charles is still maintaining an interest. It probably little known now that he wrote and co-wrote some of the best published books on megalithic and ancient sites during the 1970s that in turn influenced more attention on preserving them, just as his interests in alternative medicine preserved legal practice of these arts during a time when some politicians were trying to banish them.