Ancient Monuments

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Garbeg Cottage, settlement 1250m north of

A Scheduled Monument in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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Latitude: 57.3605 / 57°21'37"N

Longitude: -4.4799 / 4°28'47"W

OS Eastings: 250922

OS Northings: 832724

OS Grid: NH509327

Mapcode National: GBR H998.JMV

Mapcode Global: WH3FT.48Y5

Entry Name: Garbeg Cottage, settlement 1250m N of

Scheduled Date: 1 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11438

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Urquhart and Glenmoriston

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


This monument comprises two groups of sub-rectangular/oval and circular hut foundations, the footings of prehistoric or early historic houses between 4000 and 1000 years old. They lie in rough moorland on opposing sides of a shallow valley sitting amongst the upper reaches of a wider valley.

The eastern cluster consists of six sub-rectangular huts, measuring between 14.7 m and 8.3 m long by 6.5 m and 4.9 m wide, within stony banks up to 1.8 m wide and 0.5 m high. They are mostly bow-sided and round-ended with straight facets around the corners or doorways, and at least one has a straight end. Two have a lower end associated with drains, which would indicate use as byres. One huts stands within the footings of an earlier hut circle 10 m in diameter within a 2.2 m thick and 0.4 m high stony bank.

The western cluster of five huts is less tightly knit, being more spread across the hillside. Three are more oval in character, measuring between 9.4 m and 6.4 m in length and 6.9 m by 5.4 m in width, within banks up to 2.7 m thick and 0.5 m high. One is a hut circle with an 8 m diameter interior within a 1.8 m thick and 0.4 m high stony bank. The last is sub-rectangular with bowed sides and four distinct facets marking the corners. Its sunken interior measures 7 m from NE to SW by 5.5 m transversely within a turf and stone bank, 1.7 m thick and 0.4 m high.

Surrounding and in between the huts of the eastern cluster there are numerous clearance cairns and portions of field dykes which may be contemporary with the sub-rectangular/oval buildings, but are more likely to date to the same time as the earlier roundhouse structures.

The area to be scheduled comprises two irregular quadrangles in plan, to include the remains described and an area around in which evidence for their construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling excludes the upper 0.3 m of the trackway that traverses the eastern area, to allow for its maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument is predominantly composed of relatively well-preserved examples of rare, pronounced, oval or sub-rectangular hut shapes. Two other examples are located 800 m to the WSW, yet these are distinct from the circular hut foundations found nearby and which are common throughout the region. This difference in shape may indicate a difference in date or function. They survive as upstanding features and subsequent beneficial landuse as pasture has probably resulted in the preservation of further archaeological deposits within and immediately outside the visible structures. The monument therefore has the potential to reveal further information about their date and/or local variations in domestic architecture and building use, as well as upland landuse.

Contextual characteristics: Archaeologists have identified oval buildings elsewhere in the Highlands as Late Iron Age or early medieval in date. Structures dating from this period have generally proved extremely hard to identify anywhere in Scotland. Alternatively, oval buildings may have been a localised reaction to cultural or environmental stimuli which caused or necessitated this variance from the contemporary, normal, prehistoric round house tradition. This monument is then a particularly rare example of a local or period type. It has the potential to reveal much about the attitudes to house building and living in houses of later prehistoric/early historic communities within and outside the region, and has the ability to inform future research into regional identities, differing lifestyles, economies and belief systems.

If early medieval, the association with a nearby Pictish (and equally rare) upstanding cemetery adds considerably to the significance of the site because of the potential to explore the relationship between the communities who lived and buried their dead here.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it is a well-preserved example of a rare regional and national house type. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the date of these structures as well as informing about later prehistoric or early historic upland landuse, settlement, house forms and uses, and society, both in this locality and, by association, the rest of Scotland. The possible association with a nearby early medieval cemetery adds considerably to this significance because of the potential to explore the relationship between the communities who lived and buried their dead here. The loss of this rare and well-preserved example would severely affect upon our future ability to understand these issues.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record this monument as NH53SW7. It is recorded in the Highland SMR as NH53SW006.

Aerial photographs:

Highland SMR, 1984, 84/022/007, Settlement and field systems includes. Above Garbeg.

Highland SMR, 1984, 84/022/011, Settlement and field systems includes. Above Garbeg.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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