Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Four Braehead Cottages, standing stone 195m south east of

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Formartine, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.3491 / 57°20'56"N

Longitude: -2.3517 / 2°21'6"W

OS Eastings: 378930

OS Northings: 828784

OS Grid: NJ789287

Mapcode National: GBR N9K9.7BQ

Mapcode Global: WH8NH.VJ9Z

Entry Name: Four Braehead Cottages, standing stone 195m SE of

Scheduled Date: 18 September 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12112

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: standing stone

Location: Meldrum

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Mid Formartine

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a single standing stone of likely Neolithic or Bronze-Age date. It is located on the summit of an unnamed hill, at around 135m above sea level in a field currently under cultivation.

The earthfast stone measures around 1.3m in breadth (NNW-SSE), 0.7m in thickness (tapering to no more than 0.15m thickness at the top) and around 1.6m in height. The stone is marked on the 1st-edition OS mapping as one of two stones on the site, although the northernmost of the two has since been removed.

The area to be scheduled is a circle centred on the centre of the stone, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to its erection and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

This is a prominent standing stone that apparently still stands where people erected it in prehistory. Buried deposits are likely to survive in the immediate area. Such deposits may also give us valuable information about the purpose of the monument, the people who created and used it, the methods used in its creation, dating evidence for its erection, and for any later activity associated with the stone.

Contextual characteristics.

The monument is a good representative of a widespread class. It has the potential to contribute to a better understanding of standing stones, particularly those of the Strathdon area. This example is one of an extensive number in Strathdon, where there has been a long tradition of the erection of standing stones and related monuments, such as stone circles and burial cairns and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland has noted that the distribution of lone standing stones largely reflects the distribution of burial cairns, suggesting a link between the two. This not only suggests a preference for settlement in the area in prehistory, but also provides us with an extremely important opportunity to assess the distribution and relationships of such sites. Due to the near-absence of evidence for settlement sites from the Neolithic or early Bronze Age in the Strathdon area, standing stones such as this are one of the main sources for archaeology to enhance understanding of the period and its socio-economic structure. In addition to this, pairs of standing stones are relatively rare in the region, so the relationship between this stone and its removed partner has the potential to inform us about such monuments and their use in antiquity. The position of such monuments in the landscape is an apparently important factor in their location, as is their connection to other similar monuments. This particular example stands on the summit of an unnamed hill, and commands strong views in all directions except to the east. Comparing and contrasting this monument with other examples of its type can give us valuable information on how and why the Neolithic and Bronze-Age peoples of the area placed such monuments in the landscape. This can help us understand Neolithic and Bronze-Age ritual monuments throughout Scotland, as well as in the Strathdon region.

Associative characteristics

This stone is one of two marked in the vicinity on the OS 1st-edition mapping, and is the S example of the pair. The N stone has since been removed.

National importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to the understanding of the past, in particular Neolithic and Bronze-Age standing stones and the part they played in ritual beliefs and practices. Spatial analysis of this and other contemporary monuments may reveal valuable information on the layout and patterns of Neolithic and Bronze-Age ritual sites within the landscape. The loss of the monument would significantly impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape and the nature and purpose of their erection and use.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NJ72NE 113.


RCAHMS 2007, IN THE SHADOW OF BENNACHIE: THE FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY OF DONSIDE, ABERDEENSHIRE, Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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