Ancient Monuments

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Easterhill, hut circles 290m ENE of

A Scheduled Monument in Westhill and District, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.1213 / 57°7'16"N

Longitude: -2.348 / 2°20'52"W

OS Eastings: 379029

OS Northings: 803431

OS Grid: NJ790034

Mapcode National: GBR XB.G91W

Mapcode Global: WH8PN.X83K

Entry Name: Easterhill, hut circles 290m ENE of

Scheduled Date: 26 March 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12314

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (

Location: Peterculter

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Westhill and District

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises the remains of seven hut circles and a field system likely to be Late Bronze Age or Iron Age in date. The field system includes rig-and-furrow, cairns, stony banks and at least one lynchet. The hut circles are visible as three interrupted and four apparently uninterrupted sub-circular rings of turf-covered stone and earth. At least two of the cairns may represent the remains of prehistoric burial mounds, similar to the one immediately to the east. The monument lies in a conifer plantation, at around 85-95m above sea level.

The hut-circles are described from W to E. The first hut circle measures 8.3m in diameter within a grass-grown stony bank up to 3m thick and 0.3m high. Its W side has been damaged during the construction of the W wall of the plantation. The second hut circle measures 9.4m in diameter within a stony bank up to 3.3m thick and 0.3m high. The third hut circle measures 9.4m in diameter within a stony bank up to 3.3m thick and 0.5m high. Its entrance is on the SE. The fourth hut-circle measures 9m in diameter within a bank up to 3.2m thick and 0.5m high. There is a 3m wide entrance on the S and the SSE arc of the wall is overlain by a clearance cairn. The fifth hut-circle measures 8m in diameter within a bank up to 3.5m thick and 0.3m high. A 20m length of stone bank abuts it on the NE. The sixth hut circle measures 9m in diameter within a bank up to 2.8m thick and 0.4m high. There is a 17m long stony bank on the ENE. The seventh hut circle measures 8m in diameter within a bank up to 2.3m thick and 0.3m high. There is a 2.5m wide entrance on the S and a 25m length of stony bank attached to the E side of the hut circle.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the hut-circles, burial cairns and field system 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 but does not include the stone wall and post-and-wire fence on the W and the post-and-wire fence on the S. It specifically excludes the tree-house on the W side of the area proposed for scheduling.

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 seven later prehistoric roundhouses, with upstanding remains dating to the first or second millennium BC. These roundhouses retain well-constructed drystone walls and it is likely that archaeologically significant deposits relating to construction, use and abandonment of the structures remain in situ. The cultivation remains are also well preserved and have the potential to inform our understanding of ancient farming practices, whether or not they are contemporary with the hut-circles and/or burial cairns. In addition, it is likely that deposits sealed below the surface survive that could provide data relating to the later prehistoric environment. The association of burial cairns with domestic remains is unusual and suggests that the monument retains the potential to tell us much about the relationship between domestic, ritual and funerary practices in the prehistoric period. The presence of a possible mould cut into a stone at one of the hut-circles suggests that metal-working activities may have taken place on the site, another factor that increases its importance. 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 hut-circles that form part of this monument are representative of a fairly common class of later prehistoric remains in Scotland and indeed Aberdeenshire. However, this group is one of the most extensive in Strathdon. The juxtaposition of burial cairns with prehistoric settlement remains is unusual and increases the importance of the monument. The possible evidence for later prehistoric metalworking on the monument greatly increases its importance. Of excavated examples, only 17% of roundhouses in northern and central Britain have produced evidence for metalworking. Thus, the monument has the potential to significantly add to our understanding of domestic craft production in the later prehistoric period. Much of the surrounding lowland landscape has been heavily improved and this monument's importance is enhanced by its fortuitous survival in an area of woodland. Together with examples such as that in Garlogie Wood, 2km to the N, this hut circle complex can contribute to our understanding of the nature of later prehistoric settlement and its chronological, economic and social relationship to similar settlements in the uplands.

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, funerary, ritual 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 societies in Aberdeenshire in particular and Scotland in general.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NJ70SE29, Benthoul, Farming and Fishing/Hut-circles; Cairns; Small Cairns; Rig; Mould (Possible).


RAF WWII Vertical 106G/SCOT/UK21 16 APR46 F/20//540 SQN B0026-7053.

E/05140 CN Benthoul, Settlement; field-system; rig; stone mould.

E/05141 CN Benthoul, Settlement; field-system; rig; stone mould.


Halliday S 2007, 'The Later Prehistoric Landscape'. In RCAHMS 2007, IN THE SHADOW OF BENNACHIE: A FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY OF DONSIDE, Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh: RCAHMS, 79-114.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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