Ancient Monuments

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Clais Garbh, shieling group 1660m west of Groddie Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, Aberdeenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.137 / 57°8'13"N

Longitude: -3.0095 / 3°0'34"W

OS Eastings: 339000

OS Northings: 805570

OS Grid: NJ390055

Mapcode National: GBR WG.4KR1

Mapcode Global: WH7N0.RW33

Entry Name: Clais Garbh, shieling group 1660m W of Groddie Cottage

Scheduled Date: 21 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11474

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: shieling

Location: Logie-Coldstone

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument comprises a well-preserved group of shieling huts and small pens of the later medieval to post-medieval period located amongst rock outcrops to the S of the Clais Burn at 500 m OD.

The site consists of a group of five huts and two smaller structures interpreted as pens. The sub-rectangular huts range in size from 3.3 m by 3.1 m to 8.7 m by 4.6 m overall and are defined by the footings of what have probably been drystone and turf walls. The wall footings typically survive 1.0 m to 1.5 m thick and up to 0.3 m high. The smaller, sub-rectanglar and D-shaped pens have drystone walls up to 1 m thick and surviving up to 0.9 m high. Shielings are associated with the seasonal use of upland pastures.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the centre of the shieling group, to include the shieling huts, and associated pens, and an area around in which evidence relating to their construction and use is likely to survive, as marked 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 various elements of this monument are in a relatively good state of preservation. They are upstanding and clearly visible in the landscape. The continued landuse as pasture and now as grouse moor has probably resulted in the preservation of further archaeological deposits within the structures and annexes/pens. It therefore has the potential to reveal further information about local variations in vernacular architecture and building use, as well as upland land use in Strathdon in the period before the agricultural improvements of the 18th century.

Contextual characteristics: As a well-preserved cluster of shieling huts and associated annexes, this represents a class of site which to date has been the subject of relatively little archaeological research, but which, together with other historic rural settlement sites in the region, have the potential to illuminate the practice of transhumance in medieval and later rural communities.

Associative characteristics: With the physical evidence of pre-Improvement settlement in the valleys largely removed by later activity, upland shieling sites such as this are increasingly rare monuments to a way of life and a once much larger rural population swept away by the 18th- and early 19th-century Clearances.

National importance

This monument is of national importance because it is a well-preserved rural settlement site of a type which to date has been the subject of relatively little archaeological research. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of upland landuse and society in this locality and, by association, the rest of Scotland in the later medieval to post-medieval period. The loss of the site would erode our ability to understand these issues and detract from the historic landscape of Western Strathdon, which preserves tangible evidence of the way of life prior to the age of agricultural improvement.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the monument as NJ30NE41.

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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