|CRAIG'S PASSAGE TOMB
|CRAIG’S DOLMEN Passage Tomb
Co. Antrim, N. Ireland
NISMR No. ANT 022:024
Located on the eastern slopes of the Bann Valley, designated 'Cromlech' on earlier
editions of the OS six-inch map, this represents the remains of a Neolithic passage
tomb. Craig's Dolmen ('na Creaga' in Irish, meaning: the rocks) consists of a single
oval shaped chamber formed by eight closely set upright basalt orthostats (3ft av.
height), supporting a flat-capstone measuring 8ft. in length by 5ft. 6in. in width ,
together with what has be interpreted as the 'remnants of a passage' (Herity, M. 1974).
It was termed by the local people as the 'Broad Stone' and apparently there had been a
custom of assembling at the stone on certain occasions, particularly at Easter time. The
tomb, the major axis being ENE - WSW, may originally have had a short passage giving
access to the chamber from the west-side. It was known to have been originally covered
by an earthen mound, with only the capstone being exposed, but this was removed in
the mid 19th century when the chamber was explored and a cinerary urn found (Gray
W. 1883-84). This urn is perhaps related to a secondary phase of activity in the Bronze
Age. A small excavation was carried out on the site on 13th-16th May, 1985 by Brian B.
Williams to facilitate the re-erection of a fallen stone and replaced the 3.5 ton capstone
on the orthostats. The capstone, broken into 5 pieces, had originally been shaped to fit
several points of registration on the uprights. These were not deep cuts or notches but
shallow grooves. The repair, carried out by stonemasons in Moira, Co. Down, was done
using steel bars and stone adhesive. The socket of the fallen orthostat revealed a small
deposit of charcoal, together with a concentration of cremated bones, believed to have
been in an undisturbed context & were sent to Dr. Jan N. Lanting of Rijksuniversitet,
Biologisch-Archaeologisch Instituut, Groningen, Holland for C14 dating. The charcoal
sample was tested in June, 1985 & was identified as 100% Quercus (oak) by Mr.
Reinder Neef (of the same institute) and returned a date of (GrN-13876) 3430 +/- 50 b.
p., putting the construction of the tomb at the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. The
monument is in State Guardianship since 1982.
Grey W. 'Cromlechs of counties Down and Antrim', JRSAI 16, (1883-84) 354-367
Herity M. 'Irish Passage Graves' (Dublin 1974)