Of Smoke and Mirrors

Notes from the Expedition to Kingsgrave Cairn, 8. February 1855


What follows is the preliminary summary of my findings at Kingsgrave Cairn, including an overview over the site written by my collegue Christopher Holden as well as my rather basic overview of all uncovered inscriptions and their on-site translations. I readily admit these notes are by no means a comprehensive overview but I hope that it can be of some use to you Miss Windsor, to the Institute as well as perhaps to our students. I would also like to point out that I believe these ruins are of immense scientific value to the still young Archaeological community as they seem to be the remains of a pre-celtic burial with inscriptions in what appears to be a very ancient form of Ogham.

Overview of Kingsgrave Cairn

Dear reader, I suggest first that you envision for a moment the environs of the English moorland. Vast flats of short turf growing across stretches of rolling hillocks, interspaced by little valleys with lonely streams and small groves of windblown trees. It is a lonely landscape, in which monuments stands out as sharp contrasts against the distant skies, and it is as such that one first sees Kingsgrave Cairn. The locality lies in a rather broad valley due north of Barrowynd manor, where the main barrow mound creates an artificial hill cutting the valley, and its stream, in two. Upon the mound has been raised a truly massive megalith, so massive in fact that were it not for its smooth and even surface it would surely have to be seen as a natural rock formation. The megalith, known by the locals as Kingstor, is however as said perfectly smooth and even across its startlingly black surface. It seems to have been fashioned from black jasper, which would indeed be astonishing as jasper of that coloration is virtually unknown in Europe, yet as far as I can tell it can be nothing else. I have however successfully struck and prepared a sample for the experts back in London.
The rest of the site, except for the central cairn, consist of two concentric circles of menhirs interspaced by a circle of exactly eight smaller burrows. Around this main site literally hundreds of smaller, less impressive burials can be found as kistvaens in the slopes. The menhirs appears to be mostly in a good condition, sheltered from the worst of the elements by the valleys slopes, and several contain intelligible markings, mostly swirling organic patterns as well as some instances of Ogham inscriptions. Several also carried what appears to be a floral mark, possibly some form of kingsmark or religious sigil. As observed by mr Auri all of the menhirs seems to be conduits for telluric energies and according to his notes they channelled these energies inwards, centred on the massive central megalith. For what purpose this was done we cannot as of yet ascertain, but I assume it might be in order to fuel some magical ritual.

The burial burrows on the other hand seem to have fared worse in the thousands of years since their closure and two were discovered opened. They appear as small, roughly two and a half meter tall, bumps in the ground with one arched opening facing inwards and shut with a massive, flat slab of stone. Upon entering one of the two opened burrows we discovered a skilfully constructed stone corridor, made with fitted stone blacks, which formed a roughly T shape with two internal chambers. The left hand chamber, facing north, contained a sunken burial pit in which we discovered the vandalized skeleton of its former inhabitant. Someone had at one point smashed several of the bones and scattered the skeleton about the bit. I believe the specimen to once have been an ogre, as the size of the bones indicated as such. No items or valuables had been placed with the dead, though this could be the result of looting. The right hand chamber, facing south, contained the burial assemblage, though it had clearly been disturbed. Of note were a massive armoured coat made from leaf like scale-mail in bronze, as well as several swords, a shield and arrowheads all made from bronze and several inlaid with gold. The assemblage also included several practical items, such as a comb, two small mirrors etc, though presumably the looters have removed several of the most valuable items.

On the grounds of the assemblage found within one of the burrows I believe that the Kingsgrave site can safely be dated to what is now being called the Bronze Age, which started roughly three hundred years after the Deluge, perhaps four thousand years ago. I am however unsure about the exact dating, both due to the exceptional craftsmanship observed, as well as the presence of mirrors, which are otherwise unknown in Britain before the arrival of the Roman legions.
A more thorough survey, as well as a more precise Clairvoyant dating, is certainly called for however.

Christopher Holden
Doc. Phil.
University of London


Inscriptions and sigils
The Kingsgrave site has proven a treasure-trove for those with an interest in the study of ancient languages on the British Isles, though I have to admit the site also leaves many of our current theories in shambles. The majority of uncovered inscriptions were written in some form of proto-ogham, suggesting the possibility that ogham actually developed from an earlier system of writing. I have however also uncovered at least two cases of inscriptions apparently written in ogham and the language is that of the old Celtic peoples, what can perhaps be termed Early Irish. I will divide the following short description into three sections, focusing on the three main sites of inscriptions.

The Menhirs
The menhirs of the inner circle carries at least one inscription without fail, some having been decorated with more and some carrying various sigils in addition to the writing. The writing here is uniformly in what appears a proto-ogham script, writing what I believe is an unknown language. The inscriptions are short and I would suggest as a hypothesis that they are the names and possibly titles of those buried in the burrows surrounding the main cairn. Furthermore each menhir carries several patterns, mostly floral, which I believe would play a ritualistic and perhaps magical significance for those buried here.

The Main Megalith
The megalith raised on the Cairn itself forms the central focal point of the site, and it has also furnished us with the most spectacular and astonishing inscription yet. Facing north and south are two identical inscriptions chiselled into the rock itself. They are surprisingly well preserved, conditions taken into consideration, and feature a circular block of text which forms a large spiral pattern. The writing is in the same proto-ogham script which also graces the menhirs, likely also written in the same unknown language. It thus seems likely that these inscriptions, and their language, represent remnants from the earliest phase of the sites usage.

However, as luck would have it, I discovered what appears to be a transcription of the text made onto a total of four smaller (roughly 1 meter tall) standing stones of common granite which surround the main monument. This transcription was done in ogham, admittedly a most archaic variety, and the language is a form of the Celtic language as it is known to us today. It undoubtedly is the same text, as the length and also the pattern of the spiral is a near perfect match, and I take it to be a later transcription added as time passed but the site remained in use. Though my transcription is so far only preliminary I will present the first five circles of text, as well as the last one, which I feel confident are correctly translated and which are of enormous scientific significance. It appears to be the epitaph over a king known as Rinnal.

“Herein lies Rinnal, High King, The Old King, The Glorious King.
He who was of the distant time, and the distant people. He saw the Coming of the End.
Far he led us, to this place under the stars, through the Storms and the Worlds Ending.
He united the people of Dewnan, of the Deep Valleys. He rebuilt and remembered.
He led the people of Dewnan against the enemy. Aldebran. And he was chained. And he was imprisoned.
And now he will do in death as he did in life. Protecting the people.”

This short piece of text reveal several astonishing points. Firstly, the Dewnan mentioned is clearly an early form of the name Devon, which we know have Celtic roots.
Secondly the Storms and the Worlds Ending of the text could quite possibly refer to the Great Cataclysm, popularly called the Deluge. It thus seems likely that the main cairn is that of someone who survived the Great Cataclysm and this would thus be the grave of an Antediluvian sapient. The possibilities of what could be found inside are exciting to say the least.
Thirdly the text mentions an Aldebran as the enemy. This is of great interest as Aldebran is generally agreed to be one of several transcriptions of the Arabic name Aldebaran, a reoccurring name in several cultures which oft times has been linked to the mysterious Archon Nergaal. This could possibly have something to do with the cryptic final line of the inscription.

The Door-Slab
The last inscription of note was written in Ogham upon what appears to be the door slab of the main cairn itself. The inscription was written in a circular, spiral like pattern, centred on a sigil which I believe might have been the kingsmark of King Rinnal. The inscription itself however, on grounds of linguistics, appears of a significantly newer date then the rest of the site, possibly added later by the Celtic users of the site. It reads as follows:

“Under ancient stone resting, that which can eternal lie.
In its eternal prison resting, that which will never die.
That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even Death may die.”

These lines are perplexing, as the last two lines are part of the infamous book by the mad arab Abdul Alhazred. Why this has been added to the portal I cannot fathom, but it certainly adds one more exciting mystery to the fascinating site which is Kingsgrave Cairn.

Knut Lindström
Doc. Phil.
University of London



I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.