Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Mylnefield, souterrains 290m and 385m east of

A Scheduled Monument in Carse of Gowrie, Perth and Kinross

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Latitude: 56.4598 / 56°27'35"N

Longitude: -3.0773 / 3°4'38"W

OS Eastings: 333711

OS Northings: 730256

OS Grid: NO337302

Mapcode National: GBR VH.6WND

Mapcode Global: WH6Q4.PWVR

Entry Name: Mylnefield, souterrains 290m and 385m E of

Scheduled Date: 30 September 1996

Last Amended: 8 October 2019

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6468

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: souterrain, earth-house

Location: Longforgan

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Carse of Gowrie

Traditional County: Perthshire


The monument comprises the remains of four souterrains, visible as cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs. The site is located in rolling arable land around 30m above sea level, to the west of Dundee and overlooking the Firth of Tay to the south.

The cropmarks, first recorded in 1984, show a set of four prehistoric souterrains. The largest of the souterrains is the easternmost example, measuring around 25m long and visible as a curving linear cropmark. The westernmost example is also visible as a curving linear feature, around 10m long. The final two souterrains sit adjacent to each other and are straighter in form than the other two, but again measure around 10m long.

The scheduled area comprises two discrete areas; one rectangular and the other square. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17):

a. The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past, or has the potential to do so, as an example of a group of Iron Age souterrains.

b. The monument retains physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular, the archaeological remains indicated by the cropmarks are likely to hold evidence for the construction, use and abandonment of the souterrains.

d. The monument is a good example of a group of souterrains, visible as clearly identifiable cropmarks, and is therefore an important representative of this monument type.

e. The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past, in particular, it holds the potential to enhance our understanding of prehistoric settlement practices within Scotland, and there is high potential for archaeological and paleo-environmental evidence to survive in and around the monument. It has also the potential to provide information about the economy, diet and social status of the occupants as well as contemporary economy and society.

f. The monument makes a significant contribution our understanding of the historic landscape by its location and its relationship to other contemporary monuments in the surrounding area. It also has the potential to increase our understanding of settlement hierarchy and changing settlement patterns in the area around Dundee and the Firth of Tay.

Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:

Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)

The monument is a group of souterrains, which has been recorded as cropmarks on aerial photographs and survives as buried deposits below the ploughsoil. It was first recorded in 1984. Although no features survive above ground, the different elements of the site and the overall plan of the monument is clear and understandable from the aerial photography. Other cropmarks are visible also on the available aerial photographs; to the north is a later trackway and field entrance and to the south are the remains of rig cultivation. Neither are associated with the souterrains but highlight changing land use in the area through time. To the east there are cropmarks of what may be two ring-ditch houses.

Evidence from other similar sites have found souterrains to be semi-subterranean cellars of Iron Age date. The Iron Age date range for souterrains has been demonstrated by excavations at other examples such as Newmill (Canmore ID 27006) and Shanzie (Canmore ID 183018). The presence of several souterrains in close proximity at Mylnefield may indicate multiple phases of construction and use, and archaeological evidence from the site may provide valuable information on the development sequence of the site over its lifetime. It is likely that the souterrains were located to, or within a prehistoric settlement, comprising one or more timber roundhouses. No settlement evidence immediately associated with the souterrains is visible on the aerial photographs, however, there are multiple factors which may mask such features, such as soil moisture level, the depth at which the archaeological features are buried and the spacing of plants in the crop.

There is good potential for the survival of archaeological features and deposits, including occupation and abandonment debris, artefacts and environmental remains such as pollen within the souterrain. This monument has the potential to add to our understanding of settlement, land-use and environment during later prehistory. It has the potential to provide information about the economy, diet and social status of its users, as well as the structure of contemporary society and economy. Study of the monument's form and construction techniques compared with other souterrains would enhance our understanding of the development sequence of this site and of souterrains in general.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

Prehistoric souterrains are common across much of Scotland, with particular concentrations in the islands and the east coast. This group sits within rolling arable land overlooking the Firth of Tay to the south and as such it has long views in all directions. There are also a number of other scheduled prehistoric archaeological sites in the immediate vicinity, including a ring ditch and souterrain (scheduled monument SM6469), an enclosure (scheduled monument SM6517), another set of souterrains (scheduled monument SM6516) and an unenclosed settlement (scheduled monument SM6519).

The monument therefore has the potential to enhance and broaden our understanding of the nature, development and the interrelationships of prehistoric settlement, both in the area around Dundee and more widely. It can add to our knowledge of social status settlement hierarchy and changing settlement patterns, as well as important connections between communities during later prehistory.

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)

There are no known associative characteristics that contribute to this site's cultural significance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 32046 (accessed on 08/08/2019).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference MPK 5128 (accessed on 08/08/2019).

MacSween, A. and Sharp, M. (1989). Prehistoric Scotland. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd.

Coleman and Hunter, R and F. (2002) 'The excavation of a souterrain at Shanzie Farm, Alyth, Perthshire', Tayside Fife Archaeol J, vol. 8, 2002. Perth.

Watkins, T. (1981b) 'Excavation of a settlement and souterrain at Newmill, near Bankfoot, Perthshire', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 110, 1978-80.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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