the whole region north of Langholm no other significant remains are found. This
points to the fact that, in the earlier prehistoric times, these two dales were but
sparsely populated.
Little recorded exploration has been made on the cairns in the county. Some
years ago a cairn was excavated near Auchencairn (No. 75) in Closeburn Parish,
and remains of a drinking-cup urn of rather exceptional size, measuring when restored
10 inches in height, were found along with a flint implement of the type formerly
designated a "fabricator," but now recognised as an object used with a piece of
pyrites for the purpose of producing fire. The urn and the flint are now preserved in
the National Museum of Antiquities. Another cairn was excavated at Mossknow
(No. 371), in the parish of Kirkpatrick-Fleming, in 1908, and a cist was exposed
the joints of which were plastered with clay and the bottom covered with river gravel,
and which contained an unburnt burial but no grave goods.
Stone Circles. - The one incontestable fact connected with stone circles is that
in numerous instances they have been used as places of interment in the Bronze
Age, as is proved by the finding of burials of this period within them. We may
thus consider briefly the stone circles of Dumfriesshire in sequence to the cairns.
The number remaining recognisable in the county is six. Of these not one is to
be found in the regions where the Bronze Age cairns abound, and only those in
Eskdale, to be afterwards mentioned, have the now recognisable site of a cairn
anywhere near them, and that the remains of an isolated example; if their
principal purpose was other than sepulchral, it is strange that in this county at all
events the remains of stone circles should be most noticeable in regions where
evidence of inhabitation in the Bronze Age is least discernible. The most remark-
able cirle in the county, both from the massive size of the monoliths which compose
it, and the dimensions of the space which they enclose, is that known as the "Twelve
Apostles" at Holywood (No. 284). This is situated in an agricultural district, and
possibly in the process of clearing the ground and enclosing, existing cairns in the
neighbourhood may have been swept away; but the absence of cairns cannot be so
easily accounted for in the case of the five remaining circles situated either on moor-
land, as the circles at Kirkhill (No. 625) in Wamphray Parish, on Whiteholm Rig
(No. 603) in Tundergarth, and Whitcastles (No. 307) in Hutton and Corrie, or on
meadowland in a purely pastoral region, as the "Girdle Stanes" (No. 198) and
"Loupin Stanes" in Eskdalemuir (No. 199). Another feature in regard to the four
last-named circles which is worth consideration is the occurrence of two of them
along the line of approach from lower Annandale to the upper waters of Eskdale,
followed at the present day by a main turnpike road; while the other pair are situated
close together and not far up Eskdale beyond the point where a branch from this
road penetrates into the valley. The significance of this statement as indicating
the line of approach of these Bronze Age people into Eskdale is increased by the
fact that the remains of the only cairn observed in Eskdale, "King Schaw's Grave"
(No. 648), lie adjacent to where this road strikes the dale, on the opposite side of the
Esk on Bankhead Hill. Though the fact of the lack of association in localities of
cairns and stone circles in these cases is deemed worth drawing attention to, it should
be stated that in the extreme south-east of the county, adjacent to the upper end of
the Solway, there is a site of a stone circle (No.5), some miles to the east of Annan,
while the "Lochmaben Stane" (boulders) (No. 263), near where the Kirtle Water
joins the Esk, are probably the remains of another. The latter would be within 4
miles of the remains of a group of cairns at Mossknow.


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