Ancient Monuments

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Cairn and mortuary enclosure 120m WSW and 150m south west of Cranberry

A Scheduled Monument in Strathallan, Perth and Kinross

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Latitude: 56.3078 / 56°18'28"N

Longitude: -3.6023 / 3°36'8"W

OS Eastings: 300963

OS Northings: 713974

OS Grid: NO009139

Mapcode National: GBR 1S.6DPS

Mapcode Global: WH5PJ.MQT7

Entry Name: Cairn and mortuary enclosure 120m WSW and 150m SW of Cranberry

Scheduled Date: 14 October 1993

Last Amended: 5 October 2021

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5775

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: kerb cairn

Location: Dunning

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Strathallan

Traditional County: Perthshire


The monument comprises the upstanding remains of a Bronze Age kerbed burial cairn and an adjacent Neolithic mortuary enclosure which survives as buried archaeological features visible on oblique aerial photographs. The monument is located on low lying agricultural land to the south of the River Earn at 65m above sea level. 

The cairn survives as a large earthen mound approximately 20m in diameter and up to 1.8m high. 55m to the south of the cairn is a buried archaeological feature. It is a sub-rectangular ditched feature thought to be the remains of a Neolithic burial monument. It shares the characteristic form of a long barrow or more likely, a mortuary enclosure. It measures 11m by 6.5m and is orientated east/west.

The scheduled area has two elements; both are circular with the northern one measuring 40m in diameter and the southern one 30m in diameter. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17):

a.  The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past, or has the potential to do so, as an upstanding prehistoric burial cairn and the buried remains of a second funerary monument.  

b.   The monument retains structural attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. Limited archaeological investigations have confirmed the nature and date of the Bronze Age kerbed cairn. The interpretation of cropmarked evidence seen in oblique aerial imagery suggests that the buried archaeological features represent a Neolithic mortuary enclosure.  

c.   The monument is an example of two relatively uncommon types of burial structure - a kerbed cairn and a mortuary enclosure.

e.   The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past, specifically the architectural character of prehistoric burial / funerary monuments and the archaeological and environmental assemblages associated with them.  

f.   The monument makes a significant contribution to today's landscape and/or our understanding of the historic landscape. The cairn survives as an enduring, visible component of the landscape, reflective of the wider contemporary, Bronze Age landscape of settlement and funerary monuments, located in Strathearn.

Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:

Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)

This monument has been recorded as an upstanding earthwork and as cropmarks on aerial photographs, surviving as buried deposits below the ploughsoil. Taken together these archaeological deposits and overlying structures are an important indicator of prehistoric funerary and burial practice in this area.

There has been limited archaeological investigations to understand the nature of the cairn. These revealed that beneath the uppermost turf capping and earthen layer, there is a drystone cairn structure contained by a circular perimeter or, kerb of boulders. Environmental evidence was recovered from an underlying, older land surface as well as worked flint. The areas of likely burial within the cairn were not, however, investigated. The form and structure of the cairn has led researchers to conclude that it is Bronze Age in origin and belonging to a class of monument known as kerb cairns.

The second feature has been identified using oblique aerial imagery. It is visible as a sub-rectilinear ditched enclosure with rounded ends, narrowing towards the west end and with a possible pit towards the east end. It has been identified as a Neolithic burial monument, likely to be a mortuary enclosure. As such it is an example of a relatively uncommon monument type.

Archaeological monuments often contain features that are not visible in aerial photographs and can have well preserved stratified layers of archaeological deposits. There is therefore potential for the survival of archaeological features and deposits, including occupation and abandonment debris, artefacts and environmental remains such as charcoal or pollen within the ditches and adjacent to the features. This has been demonstrated by the partial excavation of the burial cairn. These remains have the potential to yield important information about function, form and date - study of their form and construction techniques compared with other cairns and Neolithic burials would enhance our understanding of the development sequence of this site.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

Burial and funerary monuments give us insight into life and death in prehistory. They can tell us much about communities and their approach to commemoration, such as the deliberate positioning of these monuments in a landscape, among contemporary settlement and agriculture remains.

There are over 180 examples of kerb cairn known of in Scotland, with clusters around the southwest, the Hebridean coastlines, the riverine landscapes of the northeast Highlands and, more locally, the low-lying fertile grounds along Strathearn. Only 19 long barrows are recorded in east central Scotland, the Borders and Moray coasts, with local examples known of near Dunblane (Canmore ID 24704), Crieff (Canmore ID 25503) and Auchterarder (Canmore ID 84931). 24 examples of Neolithic mortuary enclosure are recorded in broadly the same areas, with local examples around Crieff (Canmore ID 68174 and 239334).     

Researchers have shown how this area of Strathearn was exploited in prehistory with a dense clustering of various ceremonial, settlement, agriculture and burial remains. This monument sits on an area of low-lying fertile ground between the River Earn to the north and steeper, higher ground of the Ochil Hills to the south. It is part of a much larger surviving relict landscape of contemporary monuments investigated by the Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot Project. Within 500m east and west of this monument there are the remains of broadly contemporary settlements and associated archaeological features such as enclosures (Millhaugh Pit Enclosure scheduled Monument SM5776, Canmore ID 84913), palisaded enclosures and henges (Henge and palisaded enclosure, 220m WSW and 210m SW of Millhaugh Farmhouse, scheduled monument SM5774, Canmore ID 26708). Taken together these remains represent a significant component of a relatively dense concentration of settlement, ceremonial and burial architecture dating from the Early Neolithic period onwards.  

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)

There are no known associative characteristics that contribute to the site's national importance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 77382 and 144817 (accessed on 31/05/2021).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference MPK9849 and MPK6713 (accessed on 31/05/2021).

Barclay, G J, 1991, Millhaugh (Dunning parish): burial mound in, Discovery Excav Scot, 73.

Brophy K and Green H, 2015, Perth and Kinross, Millhaugh: SERF, Excavation and topographic survey in, Discovery Excav Scot, 15, 2014. Cathedral Communications Limited, Wiltshire, England, 163.

Brophy K and Green H, 2014, Millhaugh Cairn Excavations 2014. Data Structure Report. SERF. Unpublished SERF Report. University of Glasgow.

Brophy K and Noble G, 2020, Prehistoric Forteviot: excavations of a ceremonial complex in eastern Scotland. SERF monograph 1. CBA Research Report 176. Council for British Archaeology. York.

Wright, D, 2017, Millhaugh (MH17) 2017 Excavations. Unpublished SERF Report. University of Glasgow.

Wright, D, 2017, Millhaugh: SERF, Fieldwalking in, Discovery Excav Scot, 17, 2016. Cathedral Communications Limited, Wiltshire, England, 144.


HER/SMR Reference


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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