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Latitude: 56.3779 / 56°22'40"N
Longitude: -3.2602 / 3°15'36"W
OS Eastings: 322268
OS Northings: 721332
OS Grid: NO222213
Mapcode National: GBR 25.25J3
Mapcode Global: WH6QF.WYPJ
Entry Name: The Grey Stone, standing stone and unenclosed settlement, 240m W of Keepers Cottage
Scheduled Date: 25 September 1998
Last Amended: 16 June 2021
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Source ID: SM7230
Schedule Class: Cultural
Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: standing stone
County: Perth and Kinross
Electoral Ward: Carse of Gowrie
Traditional County: Perthshire
The monument comprises an upstanding prehistoric standing stone and the remains of an unenclosed settlement of later prehistoric, probably Iron Age date represented by cropmarks visible on oblique aerial photographs. The monument lies on the crest of a low ridge of gently sloped ground in arable farmland at around 35m above sea level.
The Grey Stone is a standing stone dating from the Neolithic (3800BC-2500BC) or Bronze Age (2500BC-800BC). Located at the west of the scheduled area, the single standing stone is roughly triangular in section at the base and tapered towards the top. It measures around 2m by 1.4m at the base and is about 2m in height. Located immediately north and east of The Grey Stone are the remains of an unenclosed settlement of the later prehistoric, probably Iron Age period. The unenclosed settlement is represented by cropmarks and aerial photographs have revealed around 15 features. There are at least 8 roundhouses, mostly measuring between 10-13m in diameter with one up to 18m in maximum diameter. There are further smaller features visible which may represent ring ditches. Ring ditches have been shown on excavation to represent the remains of former timber roundhouses and other smaller structures. There are several curvilinear cropmarks which may represent the remains of souterrains, one measures around 12m in length. Souterrains are subterranean structures generally regarded as having been used for storage in later prehistory. This group of features appears to represent part of an Iron Age settlement complex.
The scheduled area is irregular, extending at least 15 metres from the outer edges of the cropmarks (based on transcription data). 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
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 of the past as a possible multi-phase site dating from later prehistory, most likely Iron Age period. In particular, it adds to our understanding of later prehistoric society in Scotland and the function, use and development of enclosures and other settlement sites. The survival of an earlier (Neolithic or Bronze Age) standing stone provides strong evidence for a much longer history to the site with previous occupation or at least use of the land going back millennia. Standing stones are one of the main sources of evidence for the Neolithic in Scotland and so are important in our understanding of the nature of Scotland's prehistoric society and landscape. The example contributes to our understanding of prehistoric ritual monuments in the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods.
b. The monument is visible as cropmarks and we can be confident it retains buried structural and other physical attributes which makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the past. Study of aerial images demonstrates the overall plan of the monument is clear and understandable with features surviving as buried remains. There is also significant potential for the survival of buried archaeological deposits within the monument that are not visible as cropmarks. The monument can significantly add to our understanding of domestic settlement, agriculture and economy during the Iron Age period. The standing stone is visible as an upstanding monument and has the potential for the survival of buried archaeological deposits at its base which can significantly add to our understanding of ritual sites during the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods.
c. The monument is a rare example of a prehistoric standing stone with later settlement remains. The immediate proximity of the standing stone to the later unenclosed settlement is unusual.
d. The monument is a good example of an unenclosed settlement from the Iron Age period. The roundhouses are complimented by smaller ring ditches and souterrains. It is therefore an important example of this monument type. The standing stone is a particularly good example and is therefore an important representative of this monument type.
e. The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding of the past. It can tell us about the character, development and use of unenclosed settlements, and the nature of later prehistoric and society, economy and social hierarchy in this area of Scotland and further afield. Further research and investigation of the surviving buried remains have the potential to explain the precise chronology of this site. Such a chronological explanation may help to inform our understanding of the development of similar sites across Scotland. The standing stone provides further research potential as a surviving an earlier prehistoric ritual site. The form of the monument can be researched, contrasted and compared with other monuments of this type. Additionally, there is the potential for environmental material to survive around the base of the standing stone which could provide information on demographics, land use and environment.
f. The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the historic landscape by its association with other prehistoric sites in the local area.
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)
The monument is an upstanding prehistoric standing stone with an adjacent unenclosed settlement visible as cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs, on the crest of a gentle ridge on arable land. The unenclosed settlement survives as buried remains below the soil with ditches and other features identifiable as cropmarks. The overall plan of the monument is very clear on the aerial images and understandable.
The standing stone is of significant size and is likely to stand on its original location. In some excavated examples, such as at Carlinwell, Angus (scheduled monument SM4315) inhumations or cremation burials have been found placed around standing stones and this includes skeletal material as well as urns and grave goods. Surviving environmental remains can help us understand more about the vegetation cover and land use at the time of its erection and then use. Scientific study of this monument when compared to others has the potential to increase our understanding of the distribution and use of prehistoric ritual monuments in the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods.
The unenclosed settlement consists of around 15 features identified as roundhouses, ring ditches and souterrains, with possibly other small enclosures. The roundhouses have a clear ditch, roughly circular on plan. Such remains are generally understood to be domestic structures and used as dwellings. Within the settlement, there is cropmark evidence for small ring ditch enclosures. This offers research potential as there is the possibility to study similar structures that had different uses or to increase our knowledge of different roundhouse and ring ditch layouts. There are also at least two, and up to four, possible souterrains. These subterranean structures are generally understood to be stores and were often physically linked to a roundhouse. Archaeological monuments often contain features that are not visible in aerial photographs and can have well preserved stratified layers of archaeological deposits.
There is excellent 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 monument. It has the potential to add to our understanding of settlement, land-use and environment during the Later Prehistoric period. It has the potential to provide information about the economy, diet and social status of the occupants, as well as the structure of contemporary society and economy. Study of the monument's form compared with other settlement sites could enhance our understanding of the development sequence of this site and of prehistoric settlements in general.
To date, there have been no recorded excavations or find spots at the site. Further scientific study of this site would allow us to develop a better understanding of the nature and chronology of the site, including its date of origin, the character of the remains and the overall development sequence. This would also help us to understand the relationship between the standing stone and the unenclosed settlement – if there is earlier occupation remains that were contemporary and the order in which they were constructed, occupied, altered, abandoned or possibly even re-occupied.
Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)
Standing stones are a widespread class of monument across Scotland. There are over 1200 examples recording in the National Record of the Historic Environment, eight other examples (three are identified as only possible standing stones) of which are located within a 10km radius of this monument.
Prehistoric unenclosed settlements are found throughout Scotland. This example is of particular significance because it has a selection of features such as roundhouses, ring ditches and souterrains.
There are other examples of prehistoric unenclosed settlements in the vicinity of this monument including; Mains of Murie, unenclosed settlement NW of (scheduled monument: SM7218 – 1.2km northeast), Gallowflat, unenclosed settlement 150m NE of (scheduled monument: SM7232 – 1.2km west) and Clashbenny, unenclosed settlement 750m SW of (scheduled monument: SM7228 – 1.2km southwest). These monuments, all visible as cropmarks, have clearly defined house sites and are prehistoric in date. These sites also have a coherence and complexity which positively indicates that they are the remains of prehistoric settlements. The equidistance between the sites is of further interest and provides additional research potential for prehistoric settlement spatial analysis.
There is potential to study these sites together to better understand their functions within the local communities, settlement hierarchy and possible chronological development in the area. The monument has the potential to enhance and broaden our understanding of prehistoric society and community as well as social organisation, land division and land use. In particular, this monument offers an opportunity and the potential to help inform our understanding of possible interaction and relationship between enclosed prehistoric settlements due to the close proximity of generally similar sites.
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 this site's cultural significance.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE IDs 30535 and 30516 (accessed on 30/04/2021).
Perth and Kinross Council HER/SMR References MPK3734 and MPK5160 (accessed on 30/04/2021).
MPK3734 and MPK5160
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
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