Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Garbeg, settlement 1160m NNW of Garbeg Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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Latitude: 57.3573 / 57°21'26"N

Longitude: -4.4959 / 4°29'45"W

OS Eastings: 249951

OS Northings: 832400

OS Grid: NH499324

Mapcode National: GBR H988.PCG

Mapcode Global: WH3FS.XB8N

Entry Name: Garbeg, settlement 1160m NNW of Garbeg Cottage

Scheduled Date: 7 February 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11437

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Urquhart and Glenmoriston

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument comprises two oval hut foundations, the footings of prehistoric or early historic houses between 4000 and 1000 years old. It lies in rough pasture on a shelf of flatish ground below a rocky knoll and overlooking a wide plain at the top of a larger valley, with the remains of several prehistoric hut circles, fields and clearance cairns situated on the slope below.

The first hut measures 8.6 m from NNW to SSE by 6.9 m transversely within a wall 2.5 m in thickness and 0.5 m in height. The entrance is on the SE and the interior is dug into the slope on the NW. The second hut measures 9.2 m from N to S by 7.2 m transversely within a wall reduced to a stony bank spread to 1.8 m in thickness and 0.3 m in height. The entrance is on the WSW and occasional inner and outer facing stones are visible along the line of the bank.

The area to be scheduled is a clipped rectangle on plan, to include the huts and an area around in which evidence for their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area excludes the fence on its S edge.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument is composed of relatively well-preserved examples of a rare, pronounced, oval hut shape. Several other examples are located 800 m to the ENE, yet these are distinct from the circular hut foundations found nearby and which are common throughout the region. This difference in shape may indicate a difference in date or function. They survive as upstanding features and subsequent beneficial landuse as pasture has probably resulted in the preservation of further archaeological deposits within and immediately outside the visible structures. These buildings therefore have the potential to reveal further information about their date and/or local variations in domestic architecture and building use, as well as upland landuse.

Contextual characteristics: Archaeologists have identified oval buildings elsewhere in the Highlands as Late Iron Age or early medieval in date. Structures dating from this period have generally proved extremely hard to identify anywhere in Scotland. Alternatively, oval buildings may have been a localised reaction to cultural or environmental stimuli which caused or necessitated this variance from the contemporary, normal, prehistoric round house tradition. This monument is then a particularly rare example of a local or period type. It has the potential to reveal much about the attitudes to house building and living in houses of later prehistoric/early historic communities within and outside the region, and has the ability to inform future research into regional identities, differing lifestyles, economies and belief systems.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it is a well-preserved example of a rare regional and national house type. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the date of these structures as well as informing about later prehistoric or early historic upland landuse, settlement, house forms and uses, and society, both in this locality and, by association, the rest of Scotland. The loss of this rare and well-preserved example would severely affect upon our future ability to understand these issues.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NJ53SW7. It is recorded in the Highland SMR as NH53SW006.

Aerial photographs:

Highland SMR, 1984, 84/02/2/006, Settlement and field systems.

Highland SMR, 1984, 82/02/2/006, Settlement and field systems.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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