Ancient Monuments

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Torness, cairn 305m NNW of

A Scheduled Monument in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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Latitude: 57.3147 / 57°18'52"N

Longitude: -4.3635 / 4°21'48"W

OS Eastings: 257747

OS Northings: 827371

OS Grid: NH577273

Mapcode National: GBR H9LD.3ZH

Mapcode Global: WH3G1.YD9V

Entry Name: Torness, cairn 305m NNW of

Scheduled Date: 1 March 2007

Last Amended: 16 July 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11800

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Dores

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument is a prehistoric burial cairn, dating to the Neolithic or Bronze Age and surviving as a prominent turf-covered stony mound within a field of improved pasture. It sits prominently on a rise overlooking the River Farigaig to the S at a height of approximately 225m OD.

The cairn measures approximately 15m in diameter and 2.3m in height and is built of water-worn stones, probably quarried from the bed of the nearby river. The footings of the buildings of an abandoned post-medieval settlement are present on the N and W edges of the monument and ploughing has truncated the S edge of the monument. The past addition to the cairn of some field clearance stones is a possibility.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the visible remains 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: The cairn retains the important field characteristics of a Neolithic or Bronze-Age burial cairn. Despite the probable robbing of stones for the buildings of the adjacent post-medieval settlement and some erosion caused by livestock grazing the site, the convex profile of the cairn interior does not suggest extensive disturbance. The monument potentially preserves archaeological deposits relating to prehistoric burial rites, as well as sealing evidence for the earlier environment.

Contextual characteristics: The cairn formed a highly visible component of the prehistoric landscape and can be compared and contrasted to nearby prehistoric funerary monuments and others outside the region to create an understanding of regional identity and society during this period. The site's location affords extensive views of the rolling countryside at the N end of Stratherrick and ensures intervisibility between it and the complex of prehistoric settlement sites, both domestic and funerary, evident in the surrounding area.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it is a prominent, upstanding cairn dating to the Neolithic or Bronze Age with the potential to reveal much about funerary practice in the prehistoric communities of NE Scotland. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of prehistoric society in this locality and, by association, the rest of Scotland. The loss of the monument would affect our future ability to appreciate and understand the prehistoric landscape and its inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NH52NE 8. It is recorded in the Highland Council SMR as NH52NE0008.


RCAHMS, 1994 C25912 Aerial view of Torness, hut-circle, cairn and farmstead.

Highland Council, 2004 NH52NE0008DJL1 [no title].

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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