Ancient Monuments

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Shaw's Moor,cairnfield and ring-cairns south east of Hospital Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Lochar, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.1675 / 55°10'3"N

Longitude: -3.6398 / 3°38'23"W

OS Eastings: 295641

OS Northings: 587137

OS Grid: NX956871

Mapcode National: GBR 380P.SD

Mapcode Global: WH5W4.2C1V

Entry Name: Shaw's Moor,cairnfield and ring-cairns SE of Hospital Wood

Scheduled Date: 22 February 1994

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5920

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: field clearance cairn, cairnfield; Prehistoric ritual and funera

Location: Kirkmahoe

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Lochar

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument consists of an extensive Bronze Age cemetery formed by a large number of small cairns together with one larger ring cairn and a second, badly ruined, example.

The cairnfield is located on gently sloping, hillocky, ground to the W of the Duncow Burn. The individual cairns are located on rises in a rather peaty area, and are at least 60 in number. They are composed of medium to large stones and the majority measure 2m to 5m in visible diameter, with a few up to 8m across. At least 9 cairns have central depressions, and these appear to be a constructional feature rather than the result of robbing, although this has taken place to some extent.

The density of the cairn distribution suggests a funerary rather than a field clearance origin, an interpretation supported by the evidence from at least one cairn of very careful construction. A number of stretches of low bank run across the cairnfield, suggesting the former presence of fields.

A ring cairn, or small enclosed cremation cemetery, lies at the NE side of the cairnfield, on a slope just above the burn. It is circular, 15.5m in diameter overall with a perimeter bank up to 4.0m wide and 0.6m high. An entrance, flanked by upright boulders, is set in the SE side, and is 2.4m wide. A second ring-cairn or enclosure, 18m across, lies near the S margin of the area. It is very badly scattered.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, measuring a maximum of 485m NNW-SSE by 215m, to include the ring cairns and the best preserved part of the cairnfield, together with areas between and around the cairns in which evidence of their construction and of contemporary agriculture may survive, as marked in red on the acocmpanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as one of the best preserved of a fast-vanishing group of Bronze Age burial grounds located in Nithsdale. It displays to advantage the range of cairn size and construction present in such cairnfields, and the presence of a larger ring-cairn or enclosed cremation cemetery suggests either a variety of ritual or use at two distinct periods. The monument is likely to contain important information, accessible to excavation and analysis, about Bronze Age funerary practices and their inter-relationship with agricultural land-use.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NX 98 NE 2.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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