Ancient Monuments

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Auld Kirk, ring cairn 150m east of Ardgathen

A Scheduled Monument in Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford, Aberdeenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.2354 / 57°14'7"N

Longitude: -2.722 / 2°43'19"W

OS Eastings: 356514

OS Northings: 816311

OS Grid: NJ565163

Mapcode National: GBR M9ML.RRB

Mapcode Global: WH7MS.5D2L

Entry Name: Auld Kirk, ring cairn 150m E of Ardgathen

Scheduled Date: 7 August 1925

Last Amended: 2 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: ring cairn

Location: Alford

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a prehistoric ring cairn, situated in a field of improved pasture to the E of Ardgathen croft by Alford. The cairn is marked on the Ordnance Survey (OS) map as 'Stone Circle (site of)', and on their First Edition map it is named as Auld Kirk. The monument was last scheduled in 1961, but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains; the present scheduling rectifies this.

The circular ring bank is 11 m in diameter overall, 3-3.5 m wide and up to 0.7 m high. A few stones of external and internal kerbs revetting the ring bank are traceable. The interior measures 4 m in diameter and has many small stones protruding through the turf. It is probable that the addition of field clearance stones has altered the monument. A gap in the bank on the SSE side may represent an entrance. A single mature beech tree is growing on the bank on the NW side and the stump of another mature beech is also present. These appear to be the remnants of a ring of trees planted on the site in the 19th century and depicted on the OS First Edition survey map.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the cairn, 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 cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: Despite a degree of disturbance and erosion, the monument retains important field characteristics that clearly identify it as belonging to this relatively rare class of monument. Elements of the inner and outer kerbs of the bank are traceable and the open central area is evident. The monument as a whole is clearly visible in the landscape and the monument potentially preserves archaeological deposits relating to prehistoric burial rites within it.

Contextual characteristics: Comparing and contrasting the cairn to nearby prehistoric funerary monuments, and others outside the region, can create an understanding of regional identity and society. The site's location on a broad ridge affording extensive views of the hills in all directions, and the location of the possible entrance in the southern quarter, tempts comparison with the local recumbent stone circle tradition characteristic of the NE of Scotland.

Associative characteristics: The ecclesiastical connection suggested by the site's name (Auld Kirk) is unsubstantiated, but the tradition that this site was used for early Christian worship has drawn frequent visitors to the monument.

National importance

This monument is of national importance because it is an upstanding Early Bronze Age ring cairn 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

Sources

Bibliography

The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ51NE 3.

References:

RCAHMS 2007, IN THE SHADOW OF BENNACHIE: THE FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY OF DONSIDE, ABERDEENSHIRE, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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