Early Historic sculpture and landscape: a case study of Cladh a'Bhile, Ellary, Mid-Argyll
Cemetery, Burial, Sculpture, Carved Stones, Kingship
Cladh a'Bhile; Mid-Argyll; Scotland; UK
Medieval, Roman, Early Historic
The burial ground at Cladh a’Bhile in Mid-Argyll contains a collection of 29 carved stones, which is the second highest concentration of recorded Early Historic sculpture in Argyll. The descriptive recording and analysis of this sculpture has been the main focus of previous study, particularly as the site presently retains its function as a burial ground. The sculpture itself currently offers limited scope for interpreting what Cladh a’Bhile was in the Early Historic period. However, through a consideration of the potential Early Historic features at and around Cladh a’Bhile, more information can be brought to bear on the function and context of this collection of carved monuments. Different functions can be proposed for the site, including an isolated cemetery or a monastic context. However, the incorporation of Cladh a’Bhile into the wider coastal landscape of Loch Caolisport suggests a further context for the site. Through the exploration of the associated archaeology, topography and place-names set within this landscape, it may be suggested that the burial ground and its sculpture may have played a part in inaugural rituals associated with Early Historic kingship.