Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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North Wood, Dunfermline, cairn 140m NNW of crematorium

A Scheduled Monument in Dunfermline South, Fife

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Latitude: 56.0556 / 56°3'20"N

Longitude: -3.4173 / 3°25'2"W

OS Eastings: 311830

OS Northings: 685656

OS Grid: NT118856

Mapcode National: GBR 20.QD73

Mapcode Global: WH6S3.G2X0

Entry Name: North Wood, Dunfermline, cairn 140m NNW of crematorium

Scheduled Date: 1 November 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM8556

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Dunfermline

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Dunfermline South

Traditional County: Fife


The monument comprises a prehistoric burial mound, located on a small knoll at a height of about 70m OD. Monuments of this type generally date to between 2000 to 1500 BC.

This circular burial mound is about 11m in diameter and stands to a height of about 1m. At the centre of the mound is an irregular oval depression, some 3.5m N-S by 2.5m transversely and up to 0.75m deep, which indicates that the mound has been disturbed in antiquity. A slight gulley leads from the depression to the NW edge of the mound.

No stone is visible on the surface of the mound, although stone is reported in a 1971 account (in the National Monuments Record of Scotland). It is therefore likely that the mound is essentially an earthen mound with some stone. Two pieces of Bronze Age pottery were recovered from the perimeter of the mound in 1971.

The mound was built on almost level ground on the southern summit of a pair of small knolls and has wide views over the locality. Traces of broad rig cultivation are visible around its S and E sides; this cultivation is likely to post-date the mound. A slight scarp occurring about 3m from the edge of the mound on its S and E sides probably formed as an edge to this later cultivation.

The area to be scheduled is circular with a diameter of 30m, to include the mound and an area around in which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an upstanding example of a prehistoric burial mound, in an area where upstanding monuments are relatively scarce. Although partly damaged, the structure and footprint of the cairn survive sufficiently well to retain the potential to contribute to an understanding of prehistoric funerary and ritual practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT 18 NW 12.


Reedie, K. (1971) 'Dunfermline, Masterton, Bronze Age barrow/cairn', Discovery Excav Scot, 20.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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