Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Benthoull Croft, cairn 140m west of

A Scheduled Monument in Lower Deeside, Aberdeen City

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1228 / 57°7'22"N

Longitude: -2.3401 / 2°20'24"W

OS Eastings: 379503

OS Northings: 803591

OS Grid: NJ795035

Mapcode National: GBR XB.GBTH

Mapcode Global: WH8PP.07XF

Entry Name: Benthoull Croft, cairn 140m W of

Scheduled Date: 4 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12351

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Peterculter

County: Aberdeen City

Electoral Ward: Lower Deeside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a cairn of probable neolithic or Bronze-Age date. It survives as a stony mound in a forestry plantation. The monument is located on a gentle, NE-facing slope at about 87m above sea level.

The monument measures 11.5m in diameter and 1m in height. In the top of the cairn there is a square hollow, probably relating to an antiquarian excavation, measuring 2.7m by 2.7m and 0.6m in depth.

The area to be scheduled is circular in plan, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to their 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. The cairn survives to an impressive height, located in an area of mature woodland. 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 neolithic or Bronze Age when the monument was constructed and used. 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's importance is enhanced by its location in a lowland setting, where few upstanding monuments survive. The monument belongs to a diverse group of around 165 surviving neolithic or Bronze-Age burial cairns in Strathdon, of which 71 have been removed. It is part of a much larger contemporary burial tradition that covers much of Scotland. Monuments like this across Strathdon share aspects of the same construction style, use and relative position in the landscape. The location of such sites was extremely important; this monument's location is unusual as it is not in a prominent position and lies close to a scheduled complex of potentially contemporary burial cairns, hut circles and cultivation remains. In addition, the Standing Stones of Echt lie just over a kilometre to the north-west. The spatial analysis of this cairn and other ceremonial and domestic sites, such as those nearby, may further our understanding of funerary site location, the structure and nature of society and the neolithic or Bronze-Age economy.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has the inherent 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

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NJ70SE30, Benthoul: cairn. The monument is recorded in the City of Aberdeen SMR as NJ70SE0105.

References:

RCAHMS 2007, IN THE SHADOW OF BENNACHIE: A FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY OF DONSIDE, ABERDEENSHIRE, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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