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Moss Farm, Machrie Moor, stone circles, cairns, hut-circles and fields

A Scheduled Monument in Ardrossan and Arran, North Ayrshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.5394 / 55°32'21"N

Longitude: -5.3172 / 5°19'1"W

OS Eastings: 190795

OS Northings: 632293

OS Grid: NR907322

Mapcode National: GBR FG72.C78

Mapcode Global: WH1N1.9188

Entry Name: Moss Farm, Machrie Moor, stone circles, cairns, hut-circles and fields

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1994

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90207

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: palisaded enclosure; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: chambered

Location: Kilmory

County: North Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Ardrossan and Arran

Traditional County: Buteshire

Description

The monument comprises an area of Machrie Moor in which a rich archaeological landscape of prehistoric ritual and domestic structures and deposits is known to survive, both above and below the ground, including stone circles, chambered cairns, hut-circles and field systems.

The best known part of the monument is a group of six stone circles (in the care of Secretary of State) in the NE part of the complex. Excavations in 1985-6 demonstrated that elaborate timber circles (erected about 2300 BC) preceded two of the stone circles, which were constructed about 550 years later. Accompanied cremations were later placed in the centre of the circles. Nineteenth-century excavations

at the two tallest stone circles recorded central burials in stone cists accompanied by food vessels.

Different combinations of sandstone slabs and granite were carefully arranged to create the circles. Excavation has demonstrated that early neolithic activity (about 3500 BC) took place in this area, and extensive neolithic ritual and domestic featres are likely to survive, sealed by the

peat, in addition to the two chambered cairns. Hut circles and field system remains, probably of Bronze Age date, are found throughout the area to the scheduled.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan and measures up to 1150m from SSW to NNE by 1060m transversely, to include all the upstanding features and an area around in which associated remains are likely to survive, as marked in red in the attached map extract. The above-ground portion of the modern memorial stone is excluded.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it is a particularly well-preserved landscape of Neolithic and Bronze age ritual and domestic monuments. The grouping of stone circles is rare and suggests that this was a ceremonial centre serving the inhabitants of the fertile Machrie basin, if not Arran as a whole. Excavation suggests that extensive multi-period remains are likely to survive beneath the peat.

This area therefore has the potential to provide information about the development of early prehistoric society, its use of ceremony, burial rites, domestic architecture, agricultural practice and social organisation over several thousand years. The stone circles have special importance because of their place in the national consciousness.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NR 93 SW 3.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Machrie Moor Stone Circles
https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/machrie-moor-standing-stones
Find out more

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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