Ancient Monuments

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Unenclosed settlement north west of Mains of Murie

A Scheduled Monument in Carse of Gowrie, Perth and Kinross

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Latitude: 56.3845 / 56°23'4"N

Longitude: -3.2459 / 3°14'45"W

OS Eastings: 323168

OS Northings: 722052

OS Grid: NO231220

Mapcode National: GBR 26.1NQP

Mapcode Global: WH6QG.3SMG

Entry Name: Unenclosed settlement NW of Mains of Murie

Scheduled Date: 25 September 1998

Last Amended: 7 December 2021

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7218

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Errol

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Carse of Gowrie

Traditional County: Perthshire


The monument is an unenclosed settlement dating to the Bronze Age (2,500 BC – 800 BC) or Iron Age date (800 BC – AD 400) with at least five roundhouses. These cropmarks appear as dark lines and patches on oblique aerial photographs. The monument is located in an arable field at around 40m above sea level.

In the north of the scheduled area is a roundhouse 20m in diameter. Around 45m to the south is a roundhouse 16m in diameter and 50m to its southeast two further roundhouses which are located adjacent to each other; they measure 10m and 14m in diameter respectively. A further 40m to the southwest is a final round house which measures 12m in diameter.  

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. It extends up to but does not include the above ground elements of any current boundaries.

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, as a (Bronze 2,500 BC – 800 BC) to Iron Age (800 BC – AD 400) unenclosed settlement with roundhouses identified through oblique aerial photography.

b.  The monument retains structural and physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. Buried features such as round houses could provide material for radiocarbon dating and environmental analysis as well as artefacts. Detailed study of the roundhouses can tell us about their construction, use, reuse, repair and abandonment.

d.  The monument is a particularly good example of an unenclosed settlement with multiple surviving features which include five roundhouses.

e.  The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past. For example, it has the potential to tell us about the lifestyle of the inhabitants and the nature of the local economy such as agriculture and trade.

f.  The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the prehistoric landscape by providing evidence of settlement patterns density, distribution and size of individual 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. A field drain, road and quarry also appear as cropmarks. The monument is an unenclosed prehistoric settlement of roundhouses. It survives as buried deposits below the ploughsoil. Roundhouses were prehistoric buildings, thought to be dwellings. They were in use throughout the Bronze Age (Bronze 2,500 BC – 800 BC) and Iron Age (800 BC – AD 400).

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). Excavation of a cropmark immediately adjacent to the scheduled area at Mains of Murie uncovered the semi-circular remains of a cobbled surface. This was interpreted to be the remains of a roundhouse (Cachart 2018, 4,11).

The roundhouses of this monument are likely to contain archaeological deposits from which samples can be gathered for environmental analysis and radiocarbon dating. Artefacts such as iron tools, glass beads and pottery may also survive. Detailed study of the roundhouses can tell us about their construction, use, reuse, repair and abandonment. It has the potential to tell us about the wider prehistoric landscape; development of the settlement over time; the lifestyle of the inhabitants; the nature of the local economy.

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

The monument sits on the Carse of Gowrie on an area of high ground with a view of the River Tay to the south. The area was densely populated in prehistory. Some of the best cropmarked examples include: The Grey Stone, standing stone and unenclosed settlement, 240m W of Keepers Cottage (1.1km; scheduled monument SM7230); Prehistoric settlement, 575m SSW of Clashbenny (2.2km; scheduled monument SM7228) and Gallowflat, unenclosed settlement 150m NE of (2.3km; scheduled monument SM7232) to the southwest and Sandyhall, unenclosed settlement 480m ESE of (2.7km; scheduled monument SM7231) to the northwest.

These settlements are likely to have made use of the rich fertile soil near the River Tay for agriculture. There is the potential to study this monument in relation to the wider distribution of sites in the area. This could tell us about the development of prehistoric settlement patterns.

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 30495 (accessed on 21/10/2021).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference MPK5381 (accessed on 21/10/2021).

Cachart 2018. Archaeological Evaluation, Mains of Murie, Errol, Perth and Kinross, ER07. Alder Archaeology Ltd. Perth.

Murray, H.K. and Murray, J.C. (2006) Thainstone Business Park, Inverurie Aberdeenshire, Scottish Archaeological Internet Report 21. (accessed on 02/11/2021).

Wilson D R 2000. Air Photo Interpretation for Archaeologists. Tempus, Stroud.


HER/SMR Reference


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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