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Standingstones, farmstead 260m south east of

A Scheduled Monument in Lower Deeside, Aberdeen City

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1267 / 57°7'36"N

Longitude: -2.3534 / 2°21'12"W

OS Eastings: 378705

OS Northings: 804032

OS Grid: NJ787040

Mapcode National: GBR XB.FV50

Mapcode Global: WH8PN.T4JF

Entry Name: Standingstones, farmstead 260m SE of

Scheduled Date: 13 March 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12303

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: farmstead

Location: Echt

County: Aberdeen City

Electoral Ward: Lower Deeside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a pre-Improvement farmstead, surviving mainly as a set of upstanding earthworks, specifically a sub-rectangular building and enclosure, the stone-lined remains of a limekiln, and two long, linear banks. The site lies in a grazing field at around 85m above sea level.

The building lies at the south-west end of the site and measures around 18.5m NE-SW by around 6m transversely, with the grass-covered walls surviving up to 0.8m in thickness and 0.4m in height. Three compartments can be clearly traced, with the partition walls located around 5m from either end. Each compartment shows an entrance in the SE wall and the central compartment also has evidence for a small baffle wall on its SW side. Around 3m to the south of the SW end of the building is a small sub-rectangular structure that was probably a small enclosure. It measures around 7m NW-SE by around 6m transversely and survives as grass-covered wall footings around 1.5m thick by 0.3m high. The kiln survives well, and the stone-lined chamber is exposed and clearly visible, measuring around 1.7m across. It lies around 9m NW of the building's SW end on the crest of a small NE-facing slope. The banks run parallel to each other aligned ENE-WSW at a distance of around 8m apart. They stand around 0.5m high and are around 3m in width, with the northernmost being around 55m long and the southern around 30m long. There is also some evidence for a boundary wall of rubble around the NW half of the site. A farm track currently runs through the middle of the site, and this may be the line of a former hollow way.

The area to be scheduled is irregular 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. The scheduled area extends up to, but does not include, the modern fence-line to its NW edge.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The level of preservation of this site is excellent for its type, as round-ended buildings rarely survive to such a degree and the preservation of the associated kiln is good. The two linear banks are of uncertain function, and so present a rare opportunity to understand more about the nature and form of pre-Improvement farmsteads. The land is sloped and rough, making it unsuitable for modern cultivation and, together with the quality of the upstanding remains, this suggests a high potential for the survival of archaeological deposits. The surrounding area also contains evidence of extensive rig and furrow cultivation, which may be contemporary with the monument. The monument retains the potential to inform our understanding of the construction, use and abandonment of this site and its relationship to other pre-Improvement farmsteads.

Contextual characteristics

Well-preserved round-ended buildings are relatively rare in Scotland. The survival of pre-Improvement farmsteads is particularly rare in this part of Strathdon, where later agriculture has presumably destroyed many, in contrast to the higher regions of Strathdon to the west. This site does not appear, even in ruined form, on the OS 1st edition maps of the mid-19th century. This, together with the form of the building, suggests an early date of origin, though not necessarily late medieval. The monument itself lies on a slope that restricts views in all directions except the NE arc. The presence of extensive remains of rig and furrow on this hill also may directly relate to this site, and presents an excellent opportunity to assess the working landscape that a pre-Improvement farming community might have created.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to our understanding of the past, in particular pre-Improvement farming settlements and landscapes. Buried deposits from such sites have the potential to inform our understanding of wider society at the time, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contact with. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the use of such monuments, their placing within the pre-Improvement landscape, and the social structure and economy of the time.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NJ70SE17, Standingstones, Farmstead; Kiln; Rig. Aberdeenshire SMR records the monument as NJ70SE0022, Standingstones, Enclosures; Rig and Furrow.

Photographs:

D 40013 Standingstones, Farmstead; Kiln; Rig.

References:

Greig M 1993, 'Gordon District', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT, 34.

RCAHMS 2007, IN THE SHADOW OF BENNACHIE: THE FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY OF DONSIDE, ABERDEENSHIRE, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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