Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Leucharbrae Farmhouse, cairn 235m NNE of

A Scheduled Monument in Westhill and District, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.1326 / 57°7'57"N

Longitude: -2.3275 / 2°19'38"W

OS Eastings: 380274

OS Northings: 804681

OS Grid: NJ802046

Mapcode National: GBR XC.PMR3

Mapcode Global: WH8PH.6ZXF

Entry Name: Leucharbrae Farmhouse, cairn 235m NNE of

Scheduled Date: 26 September 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12394

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Skene

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Westhill and District

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a neolithic or Bronze-Age burial cairn or barrow that survives as a tree-covered mound, the south-easternmost third of which is impenetrable owing to very dense conifers and birch. It is sited in an area of forestry and sits on a natural knoll at around 90m above sea level. A shallow ditch is visible around the accessible part of the knoll's perimeter.

The knoll measures about 20m in diameter within the ditch, which is 2m wide. The cairn or barrow is about 1m in height but appears taller due to its topographic location. There are only a few stones visible and there is no evidence for any distinctive features such as a kerb.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the top of the mound, 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, a relatively well-preserved example of a neolithic or Bronze-Age cairn. Similar monuments have revealed more than one burial. The mound is likely to seal a buried land surface and this could provide evidence of the environment during the Bronze Age when the monument was constructed and used. This particular example is sited on the summit of a knoll, which would have good views to the south-west were it not for the trees. The monument has the potential to further our understanding of neolithic or Bronze-Age funerary practices, as well as inform our knowledge of the structural features of large burial monuments.

Contextual characteristics

This monument belongs to a diverse group of around 165 recorded neolithic or Bronze-Age burial cairns and barrows in the Strathdon area, of which 71 have been removed. The rest, including this example, survive as visible and upstanding monuments to varying degrees. The location of such sites was extremely important, and this particular example is unusual as it seems to have been constructed through the augmentation of a natural feature. This location would have given the monument particularly strong views to the south-west, across the valley of the Leuchar Burn. Two scheduled cairns or barrows survive 500m to 600m to the north. There was another cairn about 150m to the north-east, now destroyed, and a tumulus about 200m to the south-west, from which an urn and bones were recovered in 1914. The spatial analysis of this cairn and other burial sites may further our understanding of funerary site location, the structure and nature of society (in the absence of obvious settlement remains from this period) and the Bronze-Age economy.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has the potential to contribute to an understanding of the past, in particular neolithic or Bronze-Age burial architecture and practice in Scotland. 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 surface sealed by the monument can provide information about what the contemporary environment looked like and how the prehistoric people who interred their dead here managed the surrounding land. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the neolithic or Bronze-Age ritual landscape, as well as our knowledge of neolithic or Bronze-Age social structure and economy.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NJ72NW 133, Woods of Cairnie: Cairn. Aberdeenshire SMR records the site as NJ80SW0028, Woods of Cairnie: Cairns.


Cunningham R and Greig M 1994, 'Woods of Cairnie (Skene parish)', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT, 26.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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