Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Hillhead of Barra, standing stone 240m west of

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Formartine, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.314 / 57°18'50"N

Longitude: -2.3475 / 2°20'51"W

OS Eastings: 379165

OS Northings: 824882

OS Grid: NJ791248

Mapcode National: GBR N9KD.97R

Mapcode Global: WH8NP.XF9B

Entry Name: Hillhead of Barra, standing stone 240m W of

Scheduled Date: 5 November 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12393

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: standing stone

Location: Bourtie

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Mid Formartine

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a single monolith of likely neolithic or Bronze-Age date. The stone occupies a W-facing position on Hawk Law, at around 120m above sea level and in an area of arable cultivation.

The stone is 1.3m high, measures 0.75m in breadth and 0.5m in thickness. The stone leans to the E.

The area to be scheduled is a circle on plan centred on the stone, 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

This is a prominent standing stone that apparently still stands where people erected it in prehistory. Buried deposits are likely to survive in its immediate vicinity. Such deposits have the potential to provide valuable information about the purpose of the monument, the people who created and used it and the methods used in its creation. They also have the potential to yield dating evidence for the stone's erection, and for any later activity associated with it.

Contextual characteristics.

The monument is a good representative of a widespread class. It has the potential to contribute to a better understanding of standing stones, particularly those of the Strathdon area. This example is one of an extensive number in the area, where there has been a long tradition of the erection of standing stones, as well as related monuments, such as stone circles and burial cairns. This not only suggests a preference for settlement in the area in prehistory, but also provides us with an extremely important opportunity to assess the distribution and relationships of such sites. The position of such monuments in the landscape is an apparently important factor in their location, as is their connection to other similar monuments. This particular example stands on the W side of Hawk Law, slightly to the east of a cairn site that produced bones and an urn in the 19th century. Another stone, no longer extant, is shown 400m to the south-west on the 1st and 2nd editions of the Ordnance Survey map. In addition, the standing stone is less than 1km W of Kirkton of Bourtie recumbent stone circle. Studying the inter-relationships of these monuments can help us understand the neolithic and Bronze-Age ritual landscape. Comparing and contrasting the standing stone with other examples of its type can provide insights as to how and why the neolithic or Bronze-Age peoples of the area erected such monuments. This can help us understand neolithic or Bronze-Age ritual monuments throughout Scotland, as well as in the Strathdon region.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to the understanding of the past, in particular neolithic and Bronze-Age standing stones and the part they played in contemporary ritual beliefs and practices. Spatial analysis of this and other contemporary monuments may reveal valuable information on the layout and patterns of neolithic and Bronze-Age ritual sites within the landscape. The loss of the monument would seriously impede our ability to understand the landscape context of these monuments and the nature and purpose of their construction and use.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the site as NJ72SE107, Hillhead: Standing Stone. Aberdeenshire SMR records the site as NJ72SE0157, Hillhead: Standing-stones.



Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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