Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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The Law, cairn 175m NNW of East Law

A Scheduled Monument in West Garioch, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.3419 / 57°20'30"N

Longitude: -2.4972 / 2°29'49"W

OS Eastings: 370170

OS Northings: 828041

OS Grid: NJ701280

Mapcode National: GBR N969.STC

Mapcode Global: WH8NF.MQ1H

Entry Name: The Law, cairn 175m NNW of East Law

Scheduled Date: 7 February 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12113

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Rayne

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: West Garioch

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a Bronze-Age burial cairn, sited on the summit of The Law, lying at around 150m above sea level.

The cairn is a scrub- and gorse-covered and survives as a sub-circular mound, measuring around 16m in diameter and standing to a height of around 0.8m. The remains of a kerb are visible on its outer southern arc.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the mound to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to its 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 is visible as an upstanding feature, and is an excellent example of a well-preserved Bronze-Age cairn. The centre of the cairn appears to be undisturbed, suggesting that the primary burial may remain intact, unlike many cairns suffering from the removal of such remains by antiquarians. The mound is likely to seal a buried land surface and this could provide evidence of the environment during the Bronze Age when the monument was constructed and used. The monument therefore has the potential to further our understanding of Bronze-Age funerary practices.

Contextual characteristics

This monument belongs to a diverse group of around 165 surviving Bronze-Age burial cairns in the Strathdon area, of which around half survive as upstanding remains. In addition, this particular example is representative of a much smaller group of cairns in NE Scotland which show definite evidence of kerbs. Its position in the landscape is a commanding one, with views in all directions, including to the high point of Bennachie, a common feature of such monuments in this area. Spatial analysis of this barrow and other burial sites may further our understanding of funerary site location, the structure of society and the Bronze-Age economy, and the way these peoples dealt with their dead.

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 fits into a distinctive pattern of prehistoric burial and settlement in the Strathdon area, and therefore reflects a wider regional tradition. 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. Its loss would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape, as well as our knowledge of Bronze-Age social structure, economy and ritual practice.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NJ72NW 51. It is recorded by Aberdeenshire Council SMR as NJ72NW0046.


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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