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Latitude: 56.5051 / 56°30'18"N
Longitude: -2.7511 / 2°45'3"W
OS Eastings: 353866
OS Northings: 735034
OS Grid: NO538350
Mapcode National: GBR VR.310R
Mapcode Global: WH7R7.QR4H
Entry Name: Unenclosed settlements and round barrow 112m ESE of Ravensby Coach House
Scheduled Date: 17 December 1996
Last Amended: 28 June 2021
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Source ID: SM6567
Schedule Class: Cultural
Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: barrow; Secular: do
Electoral Ward: Carnoustie and District
Traditional County: Angus
The monument comprises a round barrow dating from the Neolithic (4100-2200BC) or Bronze Age (2200-800BC); an unenclosed prehistoric settlement dating to the Bronze Age to Iron Age (800BC-AD400) and an unenclosed settlement dating to the Early Medieval period (AD400-1100). These remains are represented by cropmarks that appear as dark lines and patches on oblique aerial photographs. It is situated on flat agricultural ground bounded to the west by the Barry Burn.
On the eastern side of the monument is a round barrow which measures 10m across within a ditch up to 2m wide. To the north is an unenclosed prehistoric settlement comprising at least two roundhouses with accompanying structures. The largest roundhouse measures 8m across with a trapezoidal structure to the northwest, which measures 6m long by 4.5m wide and to the south-southwest there are two further structures. The other roundhouse is smaller and measures 6.5m across with one adjoining structure to the southwest which is 8m across. There are also the remains of five oval to oblong sunken floored buildings most likely to date to the Early Medieval period. They form two distinct groups. The northern group comprises two buildings which measure a maximum of 12.5m by 3.7m, and 5.7m by 1.8m. The southern group of three buildings measure 7.8m by 2.8m; 6.8m by 4.2m and 6.2m by 3.5m respectively.
The scheduled area is irregular. 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. The above ground elements of all current post and wire fences are excluded.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
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, as a multi-phase site comprising a Neolithic or Bronze Age round barrow; an Iron Age unenclosed settlement with roundhouses and accompanying structures and an Early Medieval unenclosed settlement with sunken floored buildings.
b. The monument retains structural and physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. The round barrow, roundhouses and sunken floored buildings could provide material for radiocarbon dating and environmental analysis as well as artefacts. The round barrow is also likely to retain human remains. Detailed study can tell us about their construction, use, reuse, repair and abandonment.
c. The monument includes a rare example of an unenclosed Early Medieval settlement with evidence of 5 sunken floored buildings.
d. The monument is a particularly good example of a site with an extended period of human activity, especially in terms of occupation from the Neolithic or Bronze Age to the Early Medieval period and is therefore an important representative of this monument type.
e. The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular, the round barrow can tell us about the nature and development of religious, ritual and funerary practices. The monument can tell us about the lifestyle of the inhabitants and the nature of the local economy such as agriculture and trade and the transition between the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Early Medieval periods.
f. The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the prehistoric and early historic landscape by providing evidence of the enclosing of land for religious, ritual and funerary practices; the distribution and size of settlements; land use and the extent of human impact on the local environment over time.
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 cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs and survives as buried deposits below the ploughsoil. The monument comprises a round barrow dating to from the Neolithic or Bronze Age (2200-800BC); an unenclosed settlement dating from the Bronze Age to Iron Age (800BC-AD400) and an unenclosed settlement dating to the Early Medieval period (AD400-1100). Later field boundaries and the remains of medieval rig and furrow field systems can also be seen on the aerial photographs.
Round barrows were circular mounds of earth or 'cairns' of stones enclosed by a ditch. These funerary monuments usually contain single or multiple burials of cremated and noncremated human remains. The round barrow at Ravensby is now ploughed flat but would have been similar to upstanding examples such as Macbeth's Law, mound, Lawton House (scheduled monument SM3393), Perth and Kinross. The round barrow at Ravensby appears to be part of a larger prehistoric 'cemetery'. In 2019 excavation of a field 350m to the east-northeast at Pitskelly Farm Cottages (Canmore ID 364012) discovered eight Bronze Age cist (stone coffin) burials with finds including textiles and organic remains, beaker vessels, bone artefacts and a copper alloy blade. The excavations nearby also revealed traces of Neolithic activity and possible Early Medieval buildings. The site at Ravensby has the potential to contain similar finds.
Roundhouses were prehistoric buildings, which were in use during the Bronze Age and Iron Age. 1.6km to the east a group of roundhouses at Balmachie Road, Angus, were radiocarbon dated to the Late Bronze Age (1200-900BC). At the centre of this settlement excavations uncovered a Late Bronze Age hoard, radiocarbon dated to 1118BC-924BC, which contained a leaf-shaped bronze sword, spearhead, a decorative pin and textile fragments (Canmore ID 357556; Guard Archaeology Ltd. 2018-2019). An excavated example of a roundhouse from Thainstone, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire (Canmore ID 266778) was radiocarbon dated to 30BC-AD260. Archaeological excavation and analysis of the remains showed that the structure had been repaired during its lifetime. Artefacts uncovered from the site included a glass bead; stone tools and fragments of a crucible for working bronze (Murray and Murray 2006, 4, 5, 10-12).
Sunken floored buildings are thought to be dwellings dating to the Early Medieval period. On mainland Scotland the majority of these buildings are found in Perth and Kinross. A small number have been excavated and there is still much to learn about this type of settlement. Excavation at Lair, Glenshee, allowed one such building to be radiocarbon dated to 600-800AD (Glenshee Archaeology Project 2012). Outside Perthshire, at Kintore, Aberdeenshire excavations uncovered similar buildings, one of which was radiocarbon dated to between AD680 and AD890. Like Lair and Ravensby, Kintore had also been occupied during the Iron Age (Cook and Dunbar 2008, 149-159). A stone structure from the excavations at nearby Balmachie Road, Angus was radiocarbon dated to 769-888AD suggesting there was settlement in the area in the Early Medieval period.
The round barrow, prehistoric and Early Medieval unenclosed settlements are a good example of multi-period site with complex archaeological remains which can tell us about the transition between the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Early Medieval periods. There is the potential for the survival of artefacts, archaeological features and deposits and material for radiocarbon dating and environmental analysis. The round barrow has the additional potential of containing human remains which can provide material for stable isotope and DNA analysis. Detailed study of these monuments can tell us about their construction, use, reuse, repair and abandonment; the lifestyle of the inhabitants, their wider community and economy as well as their ritual, religious, ceremonial and funerary practices.
Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)
The monument is located on flat agricultural ground bounded to the west by the Barry Burn. The surrounding area was densely populated in prehistory. For example, Ravensby House, ring ditch 100m SE of (scheduled monument SM6568: 179m southwest) is interpreted as a prehistoric roundhouse. There are also other examples of enclosed and unenclosed settlements such as Greenlawhill, unenclosed settlement (scheduled monument SM6570: 376m south-southeast); and Pitskelly, enclosure and settlement 605m ESE of (SM6608: 1km east). 130m to the southeast of the round barrow aerial photographs have also highlighted the existence of a prehistoric pit alignment. Such monuments can be sites of ritual religious and ceremonial practices dating anywhere from the Mesolithic (c.8500-3800BC) to Iron Age (800BC–AD400).
The monument is an important contributor to the wider chronology of the area. There is the opportunity to study the monument and these sites together to improve our understanding of the nature and distribution of prehistoric and early historic settlement. In particular, this could tell us why earlier sites were often reoccupied, and the reasons why, in prehistory, certain places were chosen and enclosed for ritual, ceremonial and funerary practices.
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 http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 34550 (accessed on 12/03/2021).
Local Authority HER/SMR Reference NO53NW0028 (accessed on 12/03/2021).
Guard Archaeology Limited 2018 'Post-excavation analyses of the hoard' in Carnoustie Hoard Blog. Available at https://guard-archaeology.co.uk/carnoustieHoard/?p=122 (accessed on 12/03/2021).
Guard Archaeology Limited 2019 'A Bronze Age village & more' in Carnoustie Hoard Blog. Available at https://guard-archaeology.co.uk/carnoustieHoard/?p=265 (accessed on 12/03/2021).
The Glenshee Archaeology Project: Pictish Longhouse Excavation 2012 Available at https://www.socantscot.org/research-project/glenshee-archaeology-project-pictish-longhouse-excavation/ (accessed on 27/05/2021).
Cook, M. and Dunbar, L. 2008. Rituals, Roundhouses and Romans: Excavations at Kintore Aberdeenshire 2000-2006, Volume 1 Forest Road. STAR Monograph 8. Loanhead, Edinburgh: Scottish Trust for Archaeological Research.
Murray, H.K. and Murray, J.C. (2006) Thainstone Buisness Park, Inverurie Aberdeenshire, Scottish Archaeological Internet Report 21. Available at: https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-310-1/dissemination/pdf/sair21.pdf (accessed on 12/03/2021).
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
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