Patricia Mulligan adressing a tour during the excavation of Site 51. This picture shows that the flat slab of the chamber is an ideal place to adress a crowd from, and was also an excellent place to view the horizon. However, the modern cairn now blocks the wonderful view from this chamber.
The site known as Listoghil is a large cairn with a diameter of 35 meters. It is the central structure of Carrowmore; the other monuments are arranged around it in a large oval pattern, and many of them are oriented towards it. Listoghil differs from the other monuments in that it has a cairn, which all the other sites lack, and a large rectangular chamber covered by a massive limestone roof-slab, which is thought to have come from the Glen of Knocknarea. Excavations found no evidence of a passage leading into the chamber, so the site was probably free standing during some stage of it's existence, and later covered with a cairn. It has always struck me that this flat slab is an ideal spot for an individual to address a crowd.
The cairn had been robbed of stone to build fieldwalls - local reports remember it to have once been of a great size. It may have been of similar appearance to the platform cairn at Cairns Hill. When I visited it first in 1993, the cairn was about 1 meter high, with the chamber roof-slab visible in the centre. The site was excavated in the late 1990's by Burenhult's team of archaeologists, and the cairn has been re-built by the heritage service. As mentioned, no passage was found, so a modern corridor leads into the central construction. The cairn is bounded by a ring of gneiss kerbstones. The chamber is built of six boulders and, as mentioned is covered with a massive limestone flag. The axis of the monument is oriented along the NW/SE winter solstice sunrise/summer solstice sunset axis. It is somewhat like a mixture between a wedge monument and a portal dolmen, as the capstone, as the roof-slab is slanted with the higher end to the south west. The original spalls (small stones) can be seen between the orthostats and the roof-slab.
The massive 10 ton capstone, with a sprinkle of snow.
Antiquarian reports suggest that it was surrounded by a low platform. Bergh has surveyed this platform, which encircles the monument. It is 8 meters across and about 0.3 meters high. It is said to have had a ring of standing stones around it's outer edge. Bergh has noted similar encircling platforms around Queen Maeve's cairn on Knocknarea and Cairns Hill west, both of which are visible from Listoghil. The excavations dated the monument to c. 4100 cal BC using charcoal from a possible satellite south of the kerbstone circle. Nine dates from charcoal in ritual type pits and burnt layers around the central chamber, centring on 3550 cal BC. Wood-Martin's excavation report is on the next page. His main find was the flint spearhead which now resides in the Duke of Northumberland's collection, and a flint knife.
Stefan shows the location of the engraving on the edge of the roof-slab during the Stones and Bones conference in 2003.
1994, local artist Patricia Mulligan noticed a megalithic engraving on
the right side of the front edge of the roof-slab. The design is a set
of three arcs and a circle above the entry. Interestingly enough, several
antiquarians had claimed to have noticed engravings in this structure
in the past - Elcock in 1883 and Breuil in 1921 reported to have discovered
lozanges and concentric circles within the chamber. In the late 1990's
a second carving was discovered in the central chamber: an engraving on
one of the orthostats which somewhat resembles the Indian OM. Perhaps
the markings on the roof slab represent the standstill of the sun in a
much earlier version of the well known triple spiral at Newgrange.
The hill of Knocknarea and Queen Maeve's Cairn dominates the view to the west from Carrowmore. This picture is from Circle 19. The massive reconstructed cairn of Listoghil can be seen two fields away, below the left edge of Knocknarea.