Ancient Monuments

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Easter Clune, ring cairn 285m WNW of

A Scheduled Monument in Nairn and Cawdor, Highland

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Latitude: 57.5425 / 57°32'33"N

Longitude: -3.7517 / 3°45'5"W

OS Eastings: 295246

OS Northings: 851618

OS Grid: NH952516

Mapcode National: GBR K83S.G68

Mapcode Global: WH5HG.BPR6

Entry Name: Easter Clune, ring cairn 285m WNW of

Scheduled Date: 30 December 1971

Last Amended: 21 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3134

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: ring cairn

Location: Auldearn

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Nairn and Cawdor

Traditional County: Nairnshire


The monument is a Clava-type ring cairn, surviving as a ring of stones at the N edge of a gently sloping arable or grazing field on NW-facing ground, overlooking Muckle Burn. It lies at about 160 m above sea level . Archaeologists date this type of burial monument to the Early Bronze Age and it is part of small group of distinctive burial monuments given their name by a cemetery comprising several examples at nearby Clava. The monument was first scheduled in 1971, but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains. The present rescheduling rectifies this.

The cairn is approximately 22 m in diameter and is defined by its kerb most distinctly in the SE, as almost contiguous, partly turfed stones standing to 0.8 m high. Elsewhere the kerb is turfed. There is the suggestion of an amorphous bank approximately 2 m across in the W. It is difficult to distinguish any other surviving features of the cairn in the interior, with old field stones and possible cairn material being virtually indistinguishable.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the centre of the cairn, to include the cairn 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 archaeological significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic: The monument is a relatively well-preserved example of a Clava-type ring cairn. From the excavation of related monuments we now understand that the remains associated with ring cairns can include stone platforms enclosed by a circle or 'kerb' of stones, larger surrounding stone circles and rubble banks or 'rays' joining them as well as other features, and that they have a complex history of development. Despite the robbing of stone that has reduced much of the body of the cairn, some of the characteristic structural features that define this class of monument appear well preserved. The cairn is also likely to preserve beneath it a buried prehistoric land surface.

Contextual: This monument is an example of a small, regionally defined group of 50 or so prehistoric monuments, known as Clava cairns, which are only found in the Inverness and Moray Firth area, particularly along river valleys and low ground south of the Firth. Examples generally include components of stone circles, ring cairns and passage graves. We can therefore compare and contrast the cairn to nearby prehistoric funerary monuments and others outside the region to create an understanding of regional identity and society. The monument occupies an inconspicuous location, set within a natural hollow overlooked by high ground. Its siting is characteristic of other nearby ring cairns, suggesting their significance did not extend beyond the immediate locality.

Associative characteristics: It is the view of most prehistorians that there was an intimate relationship between the religious beliefs expressed by monuments such as this, the surrounding landscape and the movements of the main astronomical bodies. This astronomical link continues to generate considerable interest today.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it is an upstanding Bronze-Age, Clava-type 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



RCAHMS record the monument as NH95SE4; Highland Council SMR as NH95SE0002.


Bradley R 2000, THE GOOD STONES: A NEW INVESTIGATION OF THE CLAVA CAIRNS, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland monograph series No. 17, Edinburgh.

Henshall A S 1963, THE CHAMBERED TOMBS OF SCOTLAND, Vol. 1, Edinburgh, 387.

ORDNANCE SURVEY (NAME BOOK), INVERNESS, 1874, Original Name Books of the Ordnance Survey Book No. 3, 62.

RCAHMS 1978, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF NAIRN DISTRICT, HIGHLAND REGION, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland Series No. 5, 7, No. 3, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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