Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairns, 130m NNE of Brownhills

A Scheduled Monument in West Garioch, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.3412 / 57°20'28"N

Longitude: -2.5665 / 2°33'59"W

OS Eastings: 365998

OS Northings: 827994

OS Grid: NJ659279

Mapcode National: GBR N909.YTQ

Mapcode Global: WH8ND.KR21

Entry Name: Cairns, 130m NNE of Brownhills

Scheduled Date: 19 December 2007

Last Amended: 20 February 2023

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12116

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain)

Location: Oyne

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: West Garioch

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises two Bronze-Age burial cairns, of conspicuously small size. They are sited about 10m apart, in an area of cultivated land to the S of the summit of a small, unnamed hill, at around 160m above sea level.

The monument comprises a pair of small, turf-covered mounds. The south-west of the pair measures around 5m in diameter and stands to a height of around 0.4m. The north-east of the pair measures around 4m in diameter and 0.3m in height.

The area to be scheduled is oval on plan, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to their construction 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

The monument consists of the well-preserved remains of two Bronze-Age cairns. They are unusual due to their mutual proximity and small size. There is a high potential for the survival of burials beneath the cairns. The cairns are likely to seal a buried land surface and this could provide evidence of the Bronze-Age environment within which the monument was constructed and used. The monument has the potential to further our understanding of Bronze-Age funerary practices, as well as inform our knowledge of the structural features of this type of cairn.

Contextual characteristics

This monument belongs to a diverse group of around 165 surviving Bronze-Age burial cairns in the Strathdon area. Of these, about half survive as upstanding monuments. This particular example is unusual, as cairns in the Strathdon area are rarely found in groups. The cairns therefore present an excellent opportunity to ascertain more about such monuments being placed in an uncharacteristic manner. A third, large cairn which existed here was removed in 1856, at which time a cremation urn was recovered. This example could be directly related to the two surviving cairns. Spatial analysis of these cairns and other burial sites may further our understanding of funerary site location, the structure of society and the Bronze-Age economy.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to an understanding of the past, in particular Bronze-Age burial architecture and practice. It also fits into a distinctive pattern of prehistoric burial and settlement in the Strathdon area, where it forms an unusual localised grouping of related monuments. Skeletal remains and artefacts from such burials have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contact with. The old ground surfaces sealed by the monument can provide information about what the contemporary environment looked like and how the prehistoric peoples who interred their dead here managed the surrounding land. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape, as well as our knowledge of Bronze-Age social structure and economy.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 126368 (accessed on 29/11/2022).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference NJ62NE0090 (accessed on 29/11/2022).


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


HER/SMR Reference


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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