Ancient Monuments

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Achadh na Cille, burial ground 450m north west of Rubha nan Sgarbh

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Argyll, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.0331 / 56°1'59"N

Longitude: -5.594 / 5°35'38"W

OS Eastings: 176188

OS Northings: 688071

OS Grid: NR761880

Mapcode National: GBR DDKR.Y63

Mapcode Global: WH0J8.1MGB

Entry Name: Achadh na Cille, burial ground 450m NW of Rubha nan Sgarbh

Scheduled Date: 12 December 2001

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10334

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross-incised stone; Ecclesiastical: burial ground, cemetery, graveyard

Location: North Knapdale

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Mid Argyll

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument comprises a burial ground of possible early Christian or medieval date, with three cross-marked slabs, sited on one of the long narrow peninsulas at the head of Loch Sween, 435m NW of the small headland Rubha nan Sgarbh. The site is known locally as Achadh na Cille, or Field of the Burial Ground.

The burial ground is defined by an irregular stony bank forming an area approximately 19m NNE-SSW, by 12m E-W, with occasional large stones set transversely through the thickness of the bank, and with a marked scarp along the eastern side on the outer edge. The south-western part of the bank appears to have been rearranged or to have had a small stone platform (c.1.5m square) built over it, the function of which is unknown.

Within the burial enclosure are three cross-marked slabs, which would have originally been grave-markers. Two of the slabs have simple sunken grooved crosses, but the third has a more elaborate cross with terminals on the arms. The dating of such simple cross-marked slabs is uncertain, as they were used over a long period of time, but other stones of early Christian date are thought also to have originated from this site, which could indicate an early date for the burial ground.

Four other stones are associated with this site: a simple cross-marked slab now in the Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow; two slabs with ringed crosses, also in Glasgow; and a slab with a ringed cross on one side and a simple cross mark on the other side, now outside St Columba's Episcopal Chapel at Old Poltalloch.

The area to be scheduled is oval in shape, with maximum measurements of c.30m N-S by 26m E-W, to include the burial ground, the cross-marked slabs and an area around in which remains relating to its construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a burial ground of early Christian or medieval date, with three well-preserved cross-incised slabs still on site and other carved stones known to have come from the site. It retains the potential to provide important information about early Christian and later burial practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NR 78 NE 1.


Campbell, M. and Sandeman, M. (1964) 'Mid Argyll: an archaeological survey', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 95, 63, No. 413.

Lacaille, A. D. (1925) 'Some ancient crosses in Dumbartonshire and adjoining counties', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 59, 148-50 fig. 4-7.

Ordnance Survey (1880) Argyllshire, 1st ed.

RCAHMS (1992) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: An inventory of the monuments: Volume 7: Mid-Argyll and Cowal: Medieval and later monuments, Edinburgh, 45-7, No. 2.

White, T. P. (1875) Archaeological sketches in Scotland: Knapdale and Gigha, Edinburgh, 102, pl. 46.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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