Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Culnakirk Burn, burnt mounds 540m NNW of Garbeg Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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Latitude: 57.3527 / 57°21'9"N

Longitude: -4.4899 / 4°29'23"W

OS Eastings: 250290

OS Northings: 831876

OS Grid: NH502318

Mapcode National: GBR H999.02G

Mapcode Global: WH3FT.0G76

Entry Name: Culnakirk Burn, burnt mounds 540m NNW of Garbeg Cottage

Scheduled Date: 1 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11441

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: burnt mound

Location: Urquhart and Glenmoriston

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument comprises two grass-covered, horseshoe-shaped burnt mounds standing at the confluence of two streams that form the Culnakirk Burn.

The burnt mounds measure between 10.7 m by 7.2 m and 6.5 m by 5.1 m, and stand up to between 0.3 m and 1.7 m in height, with their openings facing away from the streams. The largest has been partially eroded by one of the streams, although the path of the stream has now been deflected by a boulder fallen from the core of the mound.

A burnt mound is normally formed of charcoal, heat-cracked stones and black earth that has built up around a hearth and central trough. In northern Scotland they tend to date to the Bronze Age, but in SW Scotland, as in Ireland, many belong to the first millennium AD. In the Northern Isles they can be associated with houses. Interpretations vary enormously, but many burnt mounds, such as at Culnakirk, may be cooking places related to hunting or herding.

The area to be scheduled is an irregular polygon on plan, bounded to the E and W by two burns, to include the burnt mounds 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 streams.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics: This monument is a well-preserved archaeological site with upstanding remains that are typical of its class. There is a high likelihood of associated well-preserved sub-surface remains. It has a typical location for this class of monument, situated adjacent to streams. It has the potential to provide information about socio-economic structures of the prehistoric or early historic communities that built them, as well as about the environments in which they lived, farmed, gathered and hunted.

Contextual characteristics: This class of monument is relatively well represented in Highland. However, these examples are notable for their good state of preservation and high upstanding remains, and their potential association with contemporary prehistoric and early medieval settlement and field-system remains.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it is a particularly well-preserved example of this monument type in an area where they appear to have largely been damaged by subsequent landuse. It is also a typical representative of its class. This monument has the potential to answer questions about local forms of burnt mounds and answer specific questions about local communities, how they lived and interacted with the world and people around them. The loss of this example would restrict the ability to study these interactions.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record this monument as NH53SW21. It is recorded in the Highland SMR as NH53SW020.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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