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Culdoich, chambered cairn and standing stone 620m south of

A Scheduled Monument in Inverness South, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.4588 / 57°27'31"N

Longitude: -4.076 / 4°4'33"W

OS Eastings: 275552

OS Northings: 842851

OS Grid: NH755428

Mapcode National: GBR J990.9PT

Mapcode Global: WH4GK.CS9C

Entry Name: Culdoich, chambered cairn and standing stone 620m S of

Scheduled Date: 20 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11851

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: chambered cairn

Location: Croy and Dalcross

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Inverness South

Traditional County: Inverness-shire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of an Early Bronze-Age passage grave surviving as a low sub-circular stone and turf covered mound, a circular arrangement of outer kerbstones and a single standing stone lying 15m to the E of the mound. It belongs to a class of burial cairn known as Clava cairns and several examples of these can be found in the Clava area, less than 2km to the N. The monument survives in cultivated land at 200m above sea level on the S side of the river Nairn.

The cairn is roughly circular and about 11m in diameter, defined by a ring of outer kerbstones. A definite interruption to the kerb on its W has been interpreted as the outer end of the passage leading to a central burial chamber. The mound has a central depression which may represent the collapse of this chamber. Lastly, a single standing stone survives in the E half of the site and may be one of a number of similar stones forming a circle around the burial mound.

The area to be scheduled is a clipped circle on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them in which traces of activity associated with the construction and use of the monument may be expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The above-ground elements of the modern field boundary are specifically excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument retains several of the key field characteristics of its class (the Clava cairn): a circular platform, a defined outer kerb, central burial chamber and the remains of a stone circle. More specifically, field research undertaken by Reading University indicates that the position of each of the kerbstones of Clava cairns is deliberate and graded towards the SW. This is a trait shared with other Clava-type burial monuments. Archaeological fieldwork at other similar sites has shown how complex the development of these types of burial monument is and this cairn is likely to be no different. It is therefore a good example of its class, not just because of its structural components and that fact that these are likely to be still in place, but because of what lies underneath the monument and its ability to tell us about the climate, flora and fauna and wider environment during the Early Bronze Age in this location.

Contextual characteristics: This is an example of a geographically specific type of Bronze-Age burial monument, the so-called Clava cairn. Only 50 or so examples exist and they are generally limited to NE Scotland around Inverness, Strathnairn and the Moray Firth. This monument shares many traits in the wider landscape with nearby monuments at Culchunaig and Leanach, and further afield with the dense concentration of burial monuments in the cemetery at Balnuaran of Clava. Specifcally, it has been positioned and apparently oriented with a general respect for the nearby river Nairn, a significant view northwards over the Moray Firth to the Black Isle and Ben Wyvis and, in a wider sense, with the geological layout of the Great Glen. The passage that was built to connect the monument's central chamber to the outer edge of the kerb and wider world is aligned SW-NE, in common with Clava cairns throughout the region.

Associative characteristics: This part of the highlands is well known for its rich variety of prehistory and history, through its surviving field monuments. This monument plays a part in this story, despite it being relatively unknown to archaeologists and the wider public until the mid 1990s.

It is the view of most prehistorians that there was an intimate relationship between the religious beliefs expressed by monuments such as here, the surrounding landscape and the movements of the main astronomical bodies. This astronomical link continues to generate considerable interest today.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it represents a rare and regionally distinctive class of Early Bronze-Age monument that can help us to understand burial and ritual practices in NE Scotland and their relationship to what is happening elsewhere in the British Isles. It is significant, single component of a much larger prehistoric landscape and can contribute to our understanding how monument complexes like this develop. The loss of the monument would affect our future ability to appreciate and understand the prehistoric landscape and its inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the monument as NH74SE37. It is recorded in the Highland Council SMR as NH74SE0038.

References:

Bradley R 2000, THE GOOD STONES: A NEW INVESTIGATION OF THE CLAVA CAIRNS, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland monograph series number 17, Edinburgh, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Watson A and Clark N 1998, 'Culdoich South, Strathnairn (Croy and Dalcross parish), Clava cairn', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT 1998, 49-50.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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