There are many bronze/iron age sites in Tweedsmuir parish comprising Standing Stones, Cairns, Barrows, Enclosed Cremation Cemetries, Ring Enclosures, Unenclosed Platform Settlements, Forts, and Cultivation Terraces.   These sites have been well recorded in the past but present day "care" is largely the province of the members of the Biggar Archeology Group led by Tam Ward.      But many sites have been lost. On the Talla Reservoir page of the BAG website - it states that it is reasonable to assume that many other features may have been destroyed without record during the quarrying operations and that the size and significance of what is still a major ritual landscape of Bronze Age activity would have been even greater.   It is a sobering thought that up to 33% of the archaelogical landscape at Talla may have been obliterated.    (The construction of the reservoir may also have obliterated the ancient site of the Talla fortalice of the Frasers/Hays - see Hay Family of Talla page.)  It is also estimated that over one hundred sites have been damaged or even destroyed by modern afforestation in the area.  However the site of two unrecorded Bronze Age Unenclosed Platform Settlements  have been discovered below the high water mark of the Fruid Reservoir (hence can only be accessed during low water periods.)   Details of this site can be found on the BAG website.   

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Tweedsmuir Standing Stones

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Shown on older maps as a Druidal Circle are three Standing Stones straddling the road to the Fruid reservoir.   The stones in fact predate the Druids and date from about 2000BC.   The largest Standing Stone is known as the Giant's Stone.  The name seems hardly appropriate as the stone is only about three feet high!

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Standing Stones 04.jpg However previous  records, in particular the survey, shown above, done in 1958 by The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland  indicate that the stone at that date was over five feet high.   I had assumed that the difference in height was due to the stone sinking.  in 1999 the Local Community Council thought that raising the stone to its original height would be a good "Millenium" project.   I sought the views of Historic Scotland who came to view the site and they came to the conclusion that the stone had not sunk and that the problem was that the road and surrounding ground had been raised about two feet.  I concurred with their findings and I suspect that the road was raised when it was upgraded from a track to take the traffic for the construction of the Fruid Reservoir in the sixties.  Historic Scotland's view is that the stone is safer to be left undisturbed.      The Cairn which is part of the historic site has been further erroded and some imagination is now required to visualise how it was.   To add to the problems the area between the Cairn and the Standing Stones has a secondary planting of rowan trees filling the area.

It is recorded that at the highest point of the circle a slightly raised area when ploughed showed that a section had been floored with selected stones of similar size all fitted together.

 

Tony Hope

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