Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Red Cottage, pit circle 780m south of

A Scheduled Monument in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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Latitude: 57.3925 / 57°23'32"N

Longitude: -4.328 / 4°19'40"W

OS Eastings: 260180

OS Northings: 835955

OS Grid: NH601359

Mapcode National: GBR H9P5.VL5

Mapcode Global: WH3FP.HG86

Entry Name: Red Cottage, pit circle 780m S of

Scheduled Date: 21 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11554

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: pit circle

Location: Dores

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument is a pit circle, visible as a cropmark on oblique aerial photographs, and thought to represent the site of a late prehistoric roundhouse. The monument lies at 35m above sea level, close to the N end of Loch Ness.

The pit circle consists of at least 10 pits defining an internal diameter of approximately 10m. Cropmarks represent negative archaeological features, the fills of which retain more moisture than the surrounding subsoil, resulting in the enhanced growth of the crops above. The pits are therefore interpreted as the sockets for upright timbers, and the pit circle is thought to be the remains of a large roundhouse, at least 14 m in diameter overall.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the remains visible on the aerial photography and an area around in which evidence relating to the construction and use of the roundhouse 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 pit circle has been identified from aerial photography and is visible as clearly identifiable cropmarks within an arable field. The form and size of the monument suggests it represents the remains of a typical late prehistoric roundhouse, the main internal supports of which would have been an internal ring of posts. These lowland round houses are on average 8m to 17m in diameter overall. This house, with a pit ring of around 10m diameter would have been at the upper end of the scale. The surviving negative features of the monument will preserve archaeological deposits. The monument therefore has the potential to reveal valuable information about local variations in domestic architecture and building use, as well as wider prehistoric landuse.

Contextual characteristics: The typical hut circle on level ground, comprising a circular wall and an internal ring of posts, is largely unrepresented in the modern ploughlands. The elements of such buildings that are most likely to survive here are the holes for the rings of timber posts that supported the roof. A pit circle and a hut circle are often therefore the remains of the same type of site, but they reveal themselves to us in different ways because of later landuse.

The few post-rings identified as cropmarks to the N of the Mounth mainly occur on the gravel flood plains of the major rivers flowing into the Moray Firth. As the remains of a large roundhouse, the monument has the potential to reveal much about house building and domestic life in the later prehistoric communities of NE Scotland. Comparing and contrasting the site nearby upland hut circles, and to other lowland cropmark sites within and outside the region, can create an understanding of regional identity, economy and society.

National importance: This monument is of national importance because it is rare surviving evidence of later prehistoric settlement in the ploughlands of this region. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of vernacular architecture, landuse and society in this locality and, by association, the rest of Scotland in the later prehistoric period. The loss of this rare site would affect our future ability to appreciate and understand the prehistoric landscape and its inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NH63NW 61; Highland Council SMR as NH63NW0093.

Aerial Photographs:

RCAHMS, 1995 C52954CN, Torr Wood, Pit Circle and linear crop marks.

RCAHMS, 1995 C52816, Torr Wood, Pit Circle and linear crop marks.



Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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