The Caiy Stane

View of the Caiy Stane with a six foot Irish man for scale

The Caiy Stane is a large standing stone which is located within the Caiystane estate in the suburb of Comiston in South Edinburgh. Standing 2.75m high, or just over 9 feet in old money, this prominent feature is the stuff of legends and has been associated with battles, burials and boundaries. Aliases include the Camus Stone, the Ket Stane, the Cat Stane and the Kel Stane.

Location

The stone is located on the east side of Caiystane View and would have been a prominent feature on the horizon before extensive housing development in the area during the last century. A record of the monument made by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) in 1913 refers to the stone as situated in a cultivate field and standing on the summit of a small rise – very different to the current environment!

Close up of cup marks

Five ‘cup-marks’ are located on the rear of the stone which may provide a clue as to the date of the monument. Cup-marks are a form of prehistoric art found carved in stones in many locations along the Atlantic seaboard including Scotland. In may examples the cup-marks are associated with carved rings but there is no evidence for this on the Caiy Stane. It is generally believed that this form of art dates from the Neolithic and Bronze age with a date range of about 4000 BC to 1500 BC.

During road construction adjacent to the site of the Caiy Stane in 1792 workmen uncovered a number of human burial in stone ‘cists’ or boxes which are believed to have have been associated with the standing stone. The Caiy Stane is likely to have marked a special place in the landscape, possibly a sacred place which may also have been chosen as a place to bury the dead.

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