Ancient Monuments

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Kinnelhead Cottage, cairn 540m south of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.2935 / 55°17'36"N

Longitude: -3.5269 / 3°31'36"W

OS Eastings: 303139

OS Northings: 600994

OS Grid: NT031009

Mapcode National: GBR 37T7.77

Mapcode Global: WH5VL.S6QR

Entry Name: Kinnelhead Cottage, cairn 540m S of

Scheduled Date: 12 March 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12655

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Kirkpatrick-Juxta

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises a burial cairn likely to date to the Bronze Age. It survives as a low, grass-covered stone mound and is located in a circular clearing within coniferous woodland. It lies on relatively flat ground on the W side of Annandale at 250m above sea level.

The cairn measures approximately 10m in diameter and 1.6m in height and is built from loose mixed stone material, visible where the vegetation has not overgrown the stones. Relatively modern mounding of stones at its centre has changed the cairn's low, convex profile and has sealed any burials surviving at or near to the cairn's centre. The overall surface is uneven where small pockets of stones have been removed or added to the top. There is no visible evidence of kerbing or further architectural features at the cairn. Records indicate a second stone-built monument 2m to the immediate east of the cairn that may represent the remains of a ring cairn or related enclosure (16m in diameter and 0.3m high). Its significance and relationship to the adjacent cairn is unclear.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the monument, 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 cairn represents a complete and relatively undisturbed example of a prehistoric burial monument. Earlier surveyors report an adjoining structure to its immediate east, but this was not visible at the time of Historic Scotland's visit. The cairn has survived at least one major change in land-use (now being surrounded by plantation coniferous forestry) and its intact footprint indicates the likelihood of archaeological deposits being sealed by its above-ground structure. The excavation of similar examples confirms that they often contain rich artefact assemblages that might include cist settings, pottery, flintwork and skeletal remains. The presence of one or more burials and their associated grave goods beneath the cairn is likely and these can help us understand more about the practice and significance of burial and commemorating the dead. The soil protected beneath the cairn has the potential to preserve environmental evidence that can help us build up a picture of the climate, local conditions and land cover at the time prehistoric people built the cairn

Contextual characteristics

The cairn belongs to a numerous and widespread group of prehistoric burial monuments that collectively indicate the scale of prehistoric burial tradition in Scotland. There are many variations and subtle differences in this wide tradition. With this example the landscape position and proximity to a local group of similar monuments stands out, as part of a significant local cluster of burials that includes the earlier, Neolithic monument at Stidriggs. This proximity signifies the importance that prehistoric communities attached to the immediate area in the Neolithic period and Bronze Age and, along with the later settlement remains to the south (along Annandale), creates a concentration of prehistoric activity. It is a modestly sized example and, as with others, the proximity of a water course (in this case the Kinnel Water) is not surprising. What is less usual is the cairn's location on relatively low-lying flat ground with only short-distant views to the N and SW (now obscured by modern forestry). Contrary to other examples in the south-west where long distance views and a position just off the summit of high points seems to dominate, it is the relative intimacy of this position that makes it unusual.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular the design and construction of burial monuments, the practice of burial rites and their significance and place in prehistoric society. Skeletal remains, grave goods and ecofactual evidence might survive in situ and these can help build up a picture of the circumstance of prehistoric burial in Annandale. The monument's loss would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape and the significance of death and burial in prehistoric life.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NT00SW 3. Dumfries and Galloway Council Sites and Monuments Record records the site as MDG 4589.


Jackson, A 1978, Forestry & Archaeology. A Study in Survival of Field Monuments in South West Scotland, Hertford: The British Archaeological Trust.

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape, Edinburgh: The Stationery Office.

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland 1920, Seventh Report with Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the County of Dumfries, HMSO: Edinburgh.

Scott-Elliot and Rae, J and I 1967, 'The small cairns fields of Dumfriesshire',Trans Dumfriesshire Galloway Natur Hist Antiq Soc 44, 106.

Yates, M J 1984, Bronze Age Round Cairns in Dumfries and Galloway: An Inventory and Discussion, Brit Archaeol Rep Brit Ser 132, 121.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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