Ancient Monuments

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Cairnpapple Hill, prehistoric ceremonial complex

A Scheduled Monument in Armadale and Blackridge, West Lothian

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Latitude: 55.9281 / 55°55'41"N

Longitude: -3.6224 / 3°37'20"W

OS Eastings: 298726

OS Northings: 671746

OS Grid: NS987717

Mapcode National: GBR 1R.ZG55

Mapcode Global: WH5RG.B899

Entry Name: Cairnpapple Hill, prehistoric ceremonial complex

Scheduled Date: 23 July 1935

Last Amended: 9 January 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90053

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain)

Location: Torphichen

County: West Lothian

Electoral Ward: Armadale and Blackridge

Traditional County: West Lothian


The monument comprises a ceremonial complex of prehistoric date on the summit of Cairnpapple Hill. The central part of the complex is in the care of the Secretary of State and is delimited by a modern fence, but the area now to be scheduled extends beyond this fence.

The monument occupies the summit of Cairnpapple Hill, lying in improved pasture at around 310m OD. It comprises a henge, or ritual enclosure, of Neolithic date, within which limited excavations have uncovered a sequence of burials ranging in date from the Neolithic period to the Iron Age. The principal focus of activity, however, appears to have been in the Neolithic period and Bronze Age, from around 5000-1400 BC.

Excavations on other sites of this kind, in Scotland and elsewhere, have demonstrated that henges formed the focus for extensive ceremonial activity in prehistory, including the construction of timber buildings and enclosures, human burial, and ritual deposition. Remains associated with such activity may be expected to survive in the vicinity of the upstanding remains.

The area to be scheduled encompasses the area in state care and the area formerly scheduled, together with an area around this, beyond the upstanding elements of the monument, in which traces of associated ritual activity may be expected to survive. It is irregular in shape with maximum dimensions of 280m NE-SW by 215m as marked in red on the accompanying map. Above-ground modern features associated with the radio mast and its compound, and other above-ground modern features as they exist at the date of this scheduling extension, are excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Cairnpapple Hill
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Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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