Ancient Monuments

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Upper Broomhill, hut circles 470m ESE, 510m ESE and 630m south east of

A Scheduled Monument in Westhill and District, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.1599 / 57°9'35"N

Longitude: -2.4518 / 2°27'6"W

OS Eastings: 372772

OS Northings: 807758

OS Grid: NJ727077

Mapcode National: GBR X5.BWQ2

Mapcode Global: WH8PF.99RH

Entry Name: Upper Broomhill, hut circles 470m ESE, 510m ESE and 630m SE of

Scheduled Date: 26 September 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12190

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 three hut circles dating to later prehistory. Each represents the remains of a dwelling and they survive as low, heather-covered stone ringworks, surrounded by dense heather moorland and naturally regenerating conifers. They are located on two local plateaus at 200m above sea level, to the north-north-east of the hillfort on Barmekin Hill and 5km west of Loch Skene.

Each hut circle is roughly circular and defined by a stone wall of varying thickness. The interiors are roughly level but partly obscured by dense heather growth. All three have breaks in their walling at their E or ESE sides, where we would expect their entrances to be. The site of the northernmost example (the largest of the three at 18m in diameter) is associated with a burial cairn known as Orde's Cairn but archaeologists now think this is one of the small group of hut circles. Previous fieldwork carried out by the Ordnance Survey had recorded and interpreted it as the cairn with one of its internal features being a cist burial, but more recent fieldwork has not been able to confirm this and it shares similar surviving features to the neighbouring hut circles. It has a rather indistinct entrance on its eastern side and probably represents the remains of a house built and lived in by the community group here The second hut circle (50m to the SSE of the first) is approximately 11m in diameter with an average wall thickness of 1.5m and its entrance is in its ESE side. Some of the drystone walling boulders are visible to three or four course high (to 0.5m in height). The third, southernmost hut circle (about 160m SSE of the second) sits on its own low, natural platform and is approximately 16m in diameter with 1.5m-thick walls. Some of its inner facing stonework is visible to three courses high (at approximately 0.5m in height).

The area to be scheduled comprises three discrete circles on plan, to include the remains described and an area around within which associated evidence may be expected to be found, 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 comprises three well-preserved hut circles. It is therefore likely that deposits relating to the buildings' construction and use still survive beneath the interior surfaces, structural walling and their immediate exteriors. They have the potential to tell us more about later prehistoric domestic architecture, the nature of small-scale settlement in this part of NE Scotland, and prehistoric upland landuse.

Contextual characteristics

As a group of well-preserved hut circles, this monument has the potential to reveal much about house building and small-scale community living during later prehistory. Such remains were widespread across much of Scotland, although few upstanding examples now survive in fertile, lowland positions. They reflect the widespread colonization and settlement of the country and in this case, the development of land and community linked to an important regional centre, the large hillfort on Barmekin hill less than one km to the south. Comparing these examples to others outside the region can create an understanding of regional identities and differing lifestyles, economies and wider society during the first and early second millenniums BC.

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 later prehistoric society, the nature of domestic architecture and everyday living. The group of hut circles and their proximity to the nearby hillfort can help us understand later prehistoric upland landuse and the ways in which settlement develops and changes. The loss of this well-preserved example would significantly impede our ability to understand the Bronze Age and Iron Age in N Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NJ70NW 5 and NJ70NW 8. Aberdeenshire SMR records the monument as NJ70NW0004 and NJ70NW0018.



Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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