Ancient Monuments

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Abersnithack Lodge, enclosure 165m north of

A Scheduled Monument in Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.2463 / 57°14'46"N

Longitude: -2.5256 / 2°31'32"W

OS Eastings: 368379

OS Northings: 817406

OS Grid: NJ683174

Mapcode National: GBR X1.D466

Mapcode Global: WH8P0.54L8

Entry Name: Abersnithack Lodge, enclosure 165m N of

Scheduled Date: 13 March 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12005

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive)

Location: Monymusk

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises an enclosure of prehistoric date, visible on oblique aerial photographs as parchmarks in an area of improved pasture. It is situated on a shelf in a S-facing slope to the north of Abersnithack Lodge, at an altitude of about 120m above sea level. Since the aerial photographs were taken (1989), a fence has been erected across the monument so that roughly half now lies within improved pasture and the other half lies unplanted at the edge of a recent woodland plantation.

The enclosure is defined by cropmarks arranged into two concentric circular rings. The inner ring measures about 20m in diameter and is less than 1m thick. This cropmark probably represents the remains of a palisade slot, a trench into which a fence of closely-set posts would be set. The outer cropmark ring, which lies about 2m to the outside of the inner, is broader, with a thickness of about 3m and an external diameter of about 30m. This cropmark marks the position of a buried ditch. A break in the ditch of about 5m wide on the SE marks the probable entrance to the enclosure. The cropmarks and the archaeological features they represent are likely to represent the remains of an Iron-Age settlement site. At 20m in diameter, the palisade slot is almost certainly too large to represent the position of a round house, and is more likely to have supported a fence that acted as a retaining structure for a bank on the inside of the ditch. Any domestic buildings would have been located within the perimeter of the palisade.

The area to be scheduled is a truncated circle on plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area extends up to, but does not include, the drystane dyke to the W. The above-ground elements of all modern fences and the telegraph pole in the scheduled area are specifically excluded from the scheduling, to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

As a negative (buried) feature visible in the form of a cropmark on aerial photographs, the enclosure is a good example of an enclosed settlement site, likely to be late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD in date, surviving in an area of agricultural activity. Although the enclosure has been cultivated, evidence relating to domestic structures may be preserved as buried deposits inside the enclosure. It is likely that a bank would have lain inside of the ditch, and potential exists for a buried soil to be preserved both beneath the ploughed-out remains of the bank and within the ditch, providing evidence of the environment within which the enclosure was built. In addition, the palisade slot and ditch are likely to contain archaeological deposits that can tell us about the economy of the inhabitants of the enclosure, the date at which the enclosure was constructed, used and abandoned, and the natural environment in which the enclosure was built.

Contextual characteristics

The monument sits in a prominent location above a river valley and commands extensive open views to the south-west, south and south east. It has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of enclosed settlements. Comparing and contrasting the enclosure to other examples both nearby and within the wider area can enable an understanding of how such sites are positioned within the landscape, as well as provide enhanced contexts for the Iron-Age economy and structure of society. Information gained from the preservation and study of this site can be used to gain an insight into the wider knowledge of Iron-Age enclosed settlement across Scotland.

National Importance

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, a type of monument that characterises the wider Iron-Age domestic landscape. Domestic remains and artefacts from settlements have the potential to tell us not only about wider prehistoric society, but also its architecture, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contacts with. Archaeological deposits preserved within the ditch, palisade slot and interior of the monument may provide information about what the contemporary environment looked like and how it was being managed by the prehistoric farmers who lived here. Its loss would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments (particularly those on the flanks of hills and along the sides of valleys) within the landscape both in Strathdon and across Scotland, as well as our knowledge of Iron-Age social structure, economy, and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ61NE 27. Aberdeenshire Council SMR records the monument as NJ61NE0025.


RCAHMS, [Draft], 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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