Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Whiteinches, cairn 440m SSW of

A Scheduled Monument in West Garioch, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.3518 / 57°21'6"N

Longitude: -2.4746 / 2°28'28"W

OS Eastings: 371538

OS Northings: 829138

OS Grid: NJ715291

Mapcode National: GBR N979.51R

Mapcode Global: WH8NF.YGSV

Entry Name: Whiteinches, cairn 440m SSW of

Scheduled Date: 4 March 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12188

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Chapel Of Garioch

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: West Garioch

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises the remains of a Bronze-Age burial cairn. The cairn is now grass-grown and is sited on the SE flank of a low rise named Backley Hill, in an area of cultivated land at around 125m above sea level.

The monument is a relatively well-preserved small cairn, measuring around 14m in diameter and survives to a height of around 1.5m.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the centre of the cairn 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 reasonably preserved Bronze-Age cairn. The centre of the cairn appears to be undisturbed, leaving a high potential for the survival of primary burials, which were often disturbed in antiquity. A buried land surface is likely to be preserved beneath the cairn, and this could provide evidence of the environment during the Bronze Age when the monument was constructed and used. The monument has the potential to further our understanding of Bronze-Age funerary practices, as well as inform our knowledge of the structural features of this type of cairn.

Contextual characteristics

This monument belongs to a group of 165 known prehistoric burial cairns in the Strathdon area, of which around half survive as upstanding remains. This example is of medium size and is a good example of this size of monument. Its position in the landscape is a commanding one, with long views in all directions except north, and the cairn is also hidden from this approach. Spatial analysis of this cairn and other burial sites may further our understanding of funerary site location, the structure of society, and the Bronze-Age economy. Information gained from the preservation and study of this site has the potential to help us gain an insight into the wider knowledge of Bronze-Age funerary practices across Scotland.

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 also fits into a distinctive pattern of prehistoric burial and settlement in the Strathdon area. 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 it was being managed by the prehistoric peoples who interred their dead here. 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 and economy.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NJ72NW 138.


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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