Ancient Monuments

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Ballaggan, mound 420m WNW of

A Scheduled Monument in Inverness South, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.468 / 57°28'4"N

Longitude: -4.0827 / 4°4'57"W

OS Eastings: 275180

OS Northings: 843880

OS Grid: NH751438

Mapcode National: GBR J89Z.LKS

Mapcode Global: WH4GK.8K3B

Entry Name: Ballaggan, mound 420m WNW of

Scheduled Date: 20 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11900

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Croy and Dalcross

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Inverness South

Traditional County: Inverness-shire

Description

The monument comprises a grass-covered mound situated in an arable field 420m WNW of Ballaggan farm. It is interpreted as an Early Bronze-Age cairn of probable Clava-type and therefore belongs to a complex of ritual monuments which extends over 1km along a flat terrace immediately to the S of the River Nairn, at 115m above sea level.

The mound is circular on plan with a regular profile measuring approximately 20m in diameter and up to 0.7m in height. Some stones are visible in the grass on the summit of the mound which, with its alignment to the axis of the Clava cemetery, suggests that it is a Clava-type cairn of either ring or chambered form. No other stones are visible that can be directly associated with the mound. It appears undisturbed, with the regularity of the mound and its location of a river terrace suggesting that it is artificial.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the mound and an area around in which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics: Excavation of other sites shows us that the remains associated with Clava cairns can include stone platforms enclosed by a circle or 'kerb' of stones, larger surrounding stone circles, burial chambers, and rubble banks or 'rays' joining them as well as other features. They have a complex history of development. Given that this monument was unknown until recently and is apparently undisturbed, there is great potential for good preservation of a range of these features beneath the grass mound. This has the potential to help us to better understand the construction and use of this site and others like it. Potential also exists for preservation of the old ground surface beneath the mound, providing information about the prehistoric environment that existed at the time of its construction and use. The monument has good potential to contribute to our future understanding of Bronze-Age funerary and ritual practices.

Contextual characteristics: This monument is an example of a small, regionally defined group of around 50 prehistoric monuments, known as Clava cairns, which we only find in the Inverness and Moray Firth area, particularly along river valleys and low ground S of the Firth. This monument forms part of an extensive, rare and very important cemetery that we believe was intended to be viewed as a single entity. Topographically, the monuments tend to have a dominant position in relation to the immediate location only, rather than to the wider landscape.

Associative characteristics: 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. The importance of the relict prehistoric landscape that includes this site is recognised by the fact that many of its component monuments are in the care of the Scottish Ministers.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it is a potentially undisturbed example of a rare and regionally distinctive class of Early Bronze-Age monument. It can help us understand burial and ritual practices in NE Scotland and their relationship to practices elsewhere in the British Isles. It is a key component of an extensive and well-preserved cemetery and has the potential to provide important information about the activities that took place here and how these contribute to the development of this ceremonial landscape as a whole. Its loss would affect our future ability to appreciate and understand the prehistoric landscape and its inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NH74SE 29.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS, 1994: C 26495; C 26496; C 26497; C 26498; C 26418 CN; C 26419 CN; C 26420 CN; C 26421 CN.

References:

Barclay G J 1991, 'The clearing and partial excavation of the cairns at Balnuaran of Clava, Inverness-shire, by Miss Kathleen Kennedy, 1930-31' PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT, 120, 30.

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.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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