NS4380 : The Common Kist

taken 10 years ago, near to Blairquhomrie, West Dunbartonshire, Great Britain

This is 1 of 2 images, with title The Common Kist in this square
The Common Kist
The Common Kist
The Common Kist (or Common Cist) is located on Auchenreoch Muir; see the end-note for more information.

The cist is effectively a stone coffin, in the form of a chamber lined with stone slabs (it would originally have had a lid, and it would also have been covered by a large cairn). It consists of a rectangular pit measuring about 3 feet long by 2 feet wide, and about 18 inches deep, enclosed on three of its sides by flat stone slabs (regarding the fourth side, see a quote, below, from a work by J.G.Smith).

About five feet away are two stones that may be kerb stones from the original cairn. See NS4380 : The Common Kist. In the present view, the cist is shown at close quarters simply because it is difficult to see from more than a few feet away.

In the book "Changing Identities / Ancient Roots - a History of West Dunbartonshire from Earliest Times" (2007; ed. Ian Brown), Simon Taylor discusses this archaeological site, and provides evidence that the remains were much more visible a few centuries ago:

"A document of 1609 mentions 'the auld monument of stane callit the Commoune-Kist', that is, 'cist of the common', which marks one of the boundaries of Dumbarton Common Grazing. This refers to the remains of a stone cist or coffin on Auchenreoch Muir, where the parishes of Bonhill, Kilmaronock and Dumbarton meet (NS432803), and is named Common Kist on the Ordnance Survey 6-inch 1st edition map (1864). ... The cist was part of a Bronze Age (c.2500-c.750 BC) burial cairn, still a conspicuous enough feature millennia later to function as an important boundary marker."

[On this, see NS4380 : Hill of Standing Stones, and my comments there on a charter of 1609.]

J.G.Smith's "Strathendrick and its Inhabitants from Early Times" (1896) says of the Common Kist that "here meet the lands of Blairquhomrie in Kilmaronock, Auchincarroch in Bonhill, Dumbarton Muir in Dumbarton, and the High Dykes of Levenside, or the three-parts of Kirkmichael in Bonhill. The lairds of these lands, not long ago, thought it necessary to divide them from each other by a wire fence, and they or their servants committed the gross piece of sacrilege of placing in the very centre of the 'Common Kist' a large straining post, and fastening it in its place by breaking up one of the sides and the foot of this most interesting monument of the past for packing to keep in its place their truly 'infernal machine'!".

The area is set to become part of a ten-turbine wind farm, centred on the nearby Hill of Standing Stones; see NS4380 : Summit of the Hill of Standing Stones.

The stones that formerly covered the Common Kist are likely to have been removed for dry-stone dyking; for example, one such dyke leads directly towards the Kist, and has what may be a lambing pen at its other end; see NS4380 : Small enclosure near the Common Kist. In the past, such ancient monuments were viewed simply as a convenient source of stone; there was, unfortunately, very little sense at that time among people in general that such antiquities were an important and irreplaceable part of our heritage, to be valued and preserved.
The Common Kist
A burial chamber in the form of a cist (a coffin-like chamber made of stone slabs). It was originally covered by a large cairn; see LinkExternal link (at Canmore) for further details. A similar cist LinkExternal link is located not far to the south-west, and the Hill of Standing Stones LinkExternal link is nearby.
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Grid Square
NS4380, 44 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 14 May, 2008   (more nearby)
Saturday, 9 August, 2008
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts 
Place (from Tags)
The Common Kist 
Near (from Tags)
Pappert Hill  Hill of Standing Stones 
Image Buckets ?
Period (from Tags)
Bronze Age 
Burial chamber   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4318 8034 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:59.4189N 4:30.9369W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4318 8034
View Direction
South-southeast (about 157 degrees)
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Other Tags
Chambered Grave  Cist  Archaeology 

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