Banner: Knocknarea at Sunset.
Praeger sitting on Cairn F before the excavations began in October 1911. Photograph by William A. Green,© NMNI.

Third visit, Carrowkeel, October 1911.

We again assembled at Tower Hill House on the afternoon of October 10th, and next morning started with four men at the group of ruined cists at the north end of Carn E.

By the afternoon we had cleared out two almost uninjured side-chambers which still contained burned bones and some other remains, and had laid bare the whole series of cists.

Plan and elevation of Cairn F by Macalister & company in 1911.

Attention was then directed to the great Carn F, of which, as already mentioned, it was evident that the chamber-roof had collapsed; but the indications of a structure of noble proportions were so pronounced that we had determined to attempt to remove the many tons of material—great slabs mixed with rubble—that had poured into the chamber.

The first operation, the breaking up and removal of a huge slab, measuring 9 feet by 6 feet, which impended over the rim of the excavation, was successfully accomplished.

Cairn F capstone 1911.
Cairn F prior to the huge capstone being smashed so the Chamber could be cleared by Macalister & company in 1911. Photograph by William A. Green,© NMNI.

Next morning work was resumed, and the whole day was spent in clearing out the large antechamber inside the doorway, which was by degrees uncovered, and in measuring and photographing it.

The landscape to the west of Carrowkeel.
The landscape to the west of Carrowkeel.

Clearing Cairn F

The morning of the third day saw us at work clearing the inner chamber, which had become visible behind the antechamber. Some very large blocks had to be removed, and it was decided to drop them into the antechamber, now thoroughly explored, as the labour of removing them entirely from the excavtions would have been extremely heavy.

R. A. S. Macalister photographed by W. A. Green in 1911.
R. A. S. Macalister photographed at Cairn B by W. A. Green in 1911.

Eventually, all the remaining material from the inner chamber was piled into the antechamber, filling it to a height of 10 feet, and by evening the inner chamber, which proved of very exceptional interest, as will be seen later, stood completely clear of material. Burned bones, etc., which were found, were as usual carefully removed for examination.

Chamber of Cairn F, cleared by Macalister in 1911
End recess and right-back recess within the chamber of Cairn F, cleared by Macalister and company in 1911. The mysterious limestone pillar has been reerected for the photograph.

On the morning of the 14th October, further human remains were removed and examined, and the inner chamber was measured, sketched, and photographed; and about mid-day our party broke up.

The bricklieve Gap.
Cairn F, left and Cairn B, right, positioned 600 meters apart across the valley of Lough Availe at Carrowkeel.