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Brackley, settlement 230m ENE of

A Scheduled Monument in Culloden and Ardersier, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.5439 / 57°32'37"N

Longitude: -3.9986 / 3°59'54"W

OS Eastings: 280473

OS Northings: 852175

OS Grid: NH804521

Mapcode National: GBR J8HS.H3G

Mapcode Global: WH4G6.KN45

Entry Name: Brackley, settlement 230m ENE of

Scheduled Date: 21 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11834

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse

Location: Petty

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Culloden and Ardersier

Traditional County: Inverness-shire

Description

The monument comprises a prehistoric settlement of at least four roundhouses, visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs. It survives as negative (buried) features, situated on level ground 175m to the ENE of the buildings at Brackley.

As a group the four roundhouses are aligned roughly E to W, with the middle pair situated very close together on a NW to SE alignment. The roundhouse to the E appears the best preserved, with a ditch that is 3-4m wide enclosing an internal area 13 m in diameter. A ring of thirteen postholes is situated around the perimeter of the internal area. A break in the line of the ditch occurs to the N. The middle pair of roundhouses appears to overlap slightly, suggesting a sequence of settlement. The SE example consists of a penannular ditch, 3-4m wide, tracing its N perimeter, with a break in the centre indicating an entranceway. A series of irregularly spaced pits lie between this roundhouse and the well-preserved one to the E. The NW roundhouse in the middle pair consists of a broad ditch, 4-6m wide, giving an overall external diameter of 21m. The roundhouse to the W is defined along its northern perimeter by a broad penannular ditch, 5.5m wide, tapering to the W.

The area to be scheduled is a clipped rectangle on plan, to include the roundhouses and an area around within which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The area extends up to, but excludes the fenceline to the N.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics: Visible as a well-preserved buried feature on aerial photographs, the monument has potential to further our understanding of prehistoric roundhouse settlements. Probable overlapping of the middle pair of roundhouses suggests an element of site continuity and reuse. Archaeological deposits contained in the deep ditches surrounding all four roundhouses have the potential to provide evidence for the sequence of use. The pit circle within the roundhouse to the E has the potential to reveal important information about the structure of the roundhouse. An earlier interpretation by Harding and Lee in 1987 suggested that some of the cropmarks related to a henge, or possibly included a souterrain.

Contextual characteristics: This cluster of roundhouses will have been part of a much wider landscape of prehistoric farming communities. Similar enclosures and pit circles occur 820m to the N, 680m to the S, 1230m to the NE, and a series of pit alignments occurs 980m to the WNW. Spatial analysis of this site and others like it may further our understanding of settlement location, economy, and the structure of society. Information gained from the preservation and study of this site can be used to gain an insight into the wider knowledge of prehistoric farming settlements across Scotland.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it is a well-preserved prehistoric roundhouse settlement visible as a buried feature. The deep ditches have the potential to preserve important stratigraphic deposits which may further our understanding of site continuity and reuse. The monument has the potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric roundhouse settlements, both in this locality and, by association, the rest of Scotland. Its loss would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape, as well as our knowledge of prehistoric domestic structures and economy.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NH85SW 23.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS, 1976:

B 51194 PO.

B 51195 PO.

B 51196 PO.

B 51197 PO IN 2691.

RCAHMS, 1996

C 72837.

C 72838.

C 72839.

C 72840.

References:

Harding A F and Lee G E 1987, HENGE MONUMENTS AND RELATED SITES OF GREAT BRITAIN: AIR PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE AND CATALOGUE, Brit Archaeol Rep Brit Ser 175, Oxford, 367, No. 267.

Jones G D B and Keillar I 1985, 'Ardersier (Petty Parish) hut circles' DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT 1985, 26.

Keillar I 1986, 'In fines Borestorum: to the land of the Boresti', POPULAR ARCHAEOL 7, 3, April 1986, 2-9.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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