Ancient Monuments

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Whisgills, long cairn and standing stones 2230m west of

A Scheduled Monument in Hawick and Hermitage, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.1461 / 55°8'46"N

Longitude: -2.8958 / 2°53'44"W

OS Eastings: 343000

OS Northings: 583899

OS Grid: NY430838

Mapcode National: GBR 886Y.V1

Mapcode Global: WH7YR.HX88

Entry Name: Whisgills, long cairn and standing stones 2230m W of

Scheduled Date: 29 July 1987

Last Amended: 23 January 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4434

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: long cairn

Location: Canonbie

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Hawick and Hermitage

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises a long cairn of Neolithic date (about 4000-2000 BC), visible as series of partially grass- and heather-covered stony mounds, and two standing stones of Neolithic or Bronze-Age date. It lies on a prominent ridge at about 300m above sea level, in a partially-ploughed clearing within a conifer plantation on the S flank of Tinnis Hill. The monument was first scheduled in 1987 but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains; the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The long cairn measures about 75m in overall length. It was recorded in the Old Statistical Account of 1791-9 as a continuous mound of stone but has suffered robbing since that date and is now visible as three discrete stony mounds aligned from WNW to ESE. The W part of the cairn measures about 35m long by up to about 10m wide. At its W end are the remains of a facade and burial chamber. The passage into the burial chamber is defined by six edge-set stone slabs (orthostats). There is a gap of some 15m between the W mound and the central mound, which measures about 10m long by about 6m wide.

The E mound lies about 3m to the E of the central mound and measures about 8m long by about 7m wide. Two large edge-set stones in this E mound may mark the location of a second burial chamber. There are two standing stones to the E of the cairn. The first stands about 45m SE of the E end of the cairn and measures about 1.7m high by 1.2m wide and 0.6m thick. It leans to the north. The second standing stone lies about 40m to the north of the first. It has fallen over since 1981 and now lies flush with the ground surface, but it formerly stood about 1.4m high.

The facade and chamber in the long cairn are a characteristic feature of Clyde-type cairns, a construction form common to Argyll and SW Scotland. As with this cairn, a characteristic feature of Clyde-type cairns is a central burial chamber of drystone construction entered by a passageway from a facade at the broader end of the cairn. Some Clyde-type cairns possess secondary burial chambers opening from the narrow end of the cairn or from its sides.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular to the understanding of burial, ritual and social practices during the Neolithic period. It has the potential to answer questions about how prehistoric populations lived and interacted with the world and the surrounding peoples, and the natural environment within which they lived.

This potential is enhanced by its complexity and place within a wider group of architecturally similar sites. Occupying a prominent position, it would have been visible from a wide area of the prehistoric landscape in which people conducted their day-to-day activities.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NY48SW 1 and NY48SW 7.


Henshall A S 1972, The Chambered Tombs of Scotland, 2, Edinburgh, 420-2, No. DMF 4.

OSA 1791-9, The Statistical Account of Scotland, drawn up from the Communications of the Ministers of the Different Parishes, Sinclair, J (Sir), Edinburgh, Vol. 16, 85.

RCAHMS 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape, Edinburgh, 100, 102-4, 294, No. 433.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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