Ancient Monuments

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Ashton Farm Cottages, ring ditch 415m south west and pit circles 460m WSW of

A Scheduled Monument in Inverness South, Highland

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Latitude: 57.4773 / 57°28'38"N

Longitude: -4.1733 / 4°10'23"W

OS Eastings: 269782

OS Northings: 845094

OS Grid: NH697450

Mapcode National: GBR J82Y.T9G

Mapcode Global: WH4GH.VBX4

Entry Name: Ashton Farm Cottages, ring ditch 415m SW and pit circles 460m WSW of

Scheduled Date: 7 February 2008

Last Amended: 26 November 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11535

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse

Location: Inverness and Bona

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Inverness South

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument comprises the remains of a ring ditch and three pit circles visible as a series of cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs that are interpreted as the remains of a prehistoric settlement. It is located on the coastal plain between 30-40m above sea level, within 1km of the southern shore of the Moray Firth and to the east of Inverness. The cropmarks are in arable farmland.

The cropmarks visible on aerial photographs of the monument represent negative or buried archaeological features that retain different levels of moisture than the surrounding subsoil resulting in the variant growth of the crops above. These show a ring ditch that is penannular in shape and measures about 6m in diameter within a ditch 1m wide and with a gap 2m wide on the SE side. The southernmost of the pit circles has a double line of pits; the middle circle has a less coherent form with an additional group of pits in its southern half and, in the northernmost circle, the pits appear as smaller features. In all three, the internal diameter of these features is about 12-15m.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises two discrete areas, one circular on plan and the other rectilinear, to include the remains described above and an area around in which related material may be expected to be found, as marked 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 unexcavated and has considerable potential to enhance understanding of unenclosed settlements of the prehistoric period in N Scotland. In particular, the monument may contribute to our understanding of the construction of prehistoric dwellings. The presence of both ring ditch and pit circles in close proximity may provide information on the planning and development of prehistoric settlements. Additionally, the presence of a double line of pits on one of the circles suggests there may have been more than one phase of building. As such, the monument may provide information on the duration of use of prehistoric settlements.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is a good example of an unenclosed settlement, similar in character to others found along the coast of the Moray Firth. As a group, these sites could help enhance our understanding of the utilisation of the prehistoric landscape.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular, prehistoric settlement and economy. Its proximity to other monuments of potentially contemporary date increases its importance. The loss of, or damage to the monument would diminish the capacity of the class to contribute to our understanding of prehistoric settlement and land use in N Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NH64NE 39 and NH 64NE 99 and it is recorded in the Highland Council SMR as MHG3740 and MHG3684.


RCAHMS 1979, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF THE BLACK ISLE, ROSS AND CROMARTY DISTRICT, HIGHLAND REGION, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland series No. 10, 20, 133, Edinburgh, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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