Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Standingstones, hut circles 615m and 680m south west of

A Scheduled Monument in Westhill and District, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.125 / 57°7'29"N

Longitude: -2.3668 / 2°22'0"W

OS Eastings: 377887

OS Northings: 803842

OS Grid: NJ778038

Mapcode National: GBR X9.64PD

Mapcode Global: WH8PN.M54R

Entry Name: Standingstones, hut circles 615m and 680m SW of

Scheduled Date: 4 March 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12125

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse

Location: Echt

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Westhill and District

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises the remains of two hut circles and a single associated clearance cairn, likely to be Late Bronze Age or Iron Age in date. They are visible as two interrupted roughly-circular rings of turf-covered loose stone and a low, circular turf-covered mound. The hut circle and clearance cairn are about 125m to the west of the lone hut circle and all three occupy the summit and north flank of a low SW-facing slope, at around 130m above sea level.

The W hut circle is situated on level ground and is now overgrown by grass. This example also appears to display two phases of construction. The earlier phase is around 11m in diameter, within a stony bank up to 2.5m in thickness and 0.3m in height. The entrance to this structure is in the east, as we would expect; it measures around 2m in width and is flanked by expanded wall terminals up to 3m in thickness and 0.5m in height. The second construction phase of this structure is represented by an oval depression in the centre of the circle's interior. It measures around 8.8m NW-SE by 7.3m transversely and has a depth of 0.2m. Short lengths of scarp around its edge probably represent the remains of an enclosing bank or wall, around 1.3m in thickness. The cairn is located around 10m to the NE of the hut circle. The second hut circle is located around 125m to the ESE, sited on the summit of a low rise. It measures 9.2m diameter within a grass-grown stony bank up to 3m in thickness and 0.5m in height. Two large outer facing stones are visible on the north along with several more on the south. The entrance is once again on the east, this time measuring around 1.2m in width. Field clearance partly overlays the W wall of the structure.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises two separate areas, rectangular and circular 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 later prehistoric roundhouses, with upstanding remains dating to the first or second millennium BC. The monument retains well-constructed drystone walls, with some structural detail still evident in exposed walling stone. The associated clearance may also help to improve our understanding of the construction and use of the site. The W example is particularly interesting due to its apparent multi-phase nature. Given the site's current use for rough grazing, it is likely that archaeologically significant deposits relating to construction, use and abandonment of the structures remain in place. In addition, it is likely that deposits sealed below the surface survive that could provide data relating to the later prehistoric environment. The site has considerable potential to enhance our understanding of later prehistoric roundhouses and the daily lives of the people who occupied them.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is a representative of a fairly common class of later prehistoric remains in Aberdeenshire, but the evidence for multiple phases of construction evident in the W example is rare. It lies on locally high ground and is surrounded by fertile grazing land, with arable land to the NE and SW, although the high level of field clearance in the vicinity suggests the immediate area was cultivated at some point in history, as does the extensive amount of rig and furrow strips nearby. The quality of the land for agriculture is likely to have been a crucial factor in the placing of the site when it was constructed. By the E hut circle is evidence of a substantial amount of rig and furrow, which may be of later date, and a significant amount of field clearance. The extensive farming landscape present in the area allows us to relate the hut circles to their surrounding landscape context.

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 Bronze- or Iron-Age society and the nature of later prehistoric domestic and agricultural practice. The good preservation and the survival of marked field characteristics enhance this potential. The loss of this example would significantly impede our ability to understand later prehistoric agricultural and domestic practices in Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NJ70SE 112. It is recorded in the Aberdeenshire SMR as NJ70SE0010.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS D40008-NJ70SE 112 Northtown.


Murray J C 2004, 'Stoneyhill, Peterhead (Cruden parish) watching brief', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT 5, 12-13.

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

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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