During the Bronze Age the dead were normally cremated and the
remains placed in a pottery vessel (funerary urn) which was set into
the ground beneath a circular mound.
Cairn means simply a ‘stony mound’, and they are the upland
equivalent of the earth and stone round barrows of the lowland zone.
Cairns may incorporate a variety of ‘architectural’ features such as
cists and kerbs, and excavation shows that they often went through a
series of developments to reach the final phase visible today.
Usually found in prominent locations on hilltops and ridges they are
often incorporated into wider landscapes and monument