Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Blackhills, roundhouse, cairns and field bank 370m NNW of

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

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Latitude: 57.1603 / 57°9'36"N

Longitude: -2.8109 / 2°48'39"W

OS Eastings: 351047

OS Northings: 808002

OS Grid: NJ510080

Mapcode National: GBR WQ.2TH0

Mapcode Global: WH7N3.S9N6

Entry Name: Blackhills, roundhouse, cairns and field bank 370m NNW of

Scheduled Date: 23 November 2006

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11631

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse

Location: Leochel-Cushnie

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a roundhouse, between 3000 and 4000 years old, and a group of cairns and short stretches of bank. It is situated in an area of unimproved pasture on a gentle, SE-facing slope with wide views. The roundhouse occupies a slight rise on this slope.

The roundhouse is roughly circular (approximately 20 m in diameter overall) and double-walled. Its outer wall (surviving as a stony bank, 1.4m in thickness and 0.4m in height) and inner wall (surviving as a low bank, 2m in width) enclose an area around 11m in diameter. In the interior, the penannular ring-ditch, 2.8m wide and with a causeway on the SW side, abuts the inner face of the wall and surrounds a raised platform. There is an entrance passage on the SSE side. To the N and E of the roundhouse there are concentrations of small cairns and short stretches of bank, representing evidence of prehistoric cultivation.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the roundhouse, cairns and stretches of bank, and an area in which evidence relating to the construction and use of the monument may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. The above-ground structure of fences and walls representing modern field boundaries are excluded from scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics: The roundhouse is a large and well-preserved example of its type and it is very likely that the associated archaeological deposits remain well-preserved. With a high degree of completeness, this structure has the potential to significantly enhance understanding of this class of monument. It lies within a prehistoric landscape that includes concentrations of cairns and stretches of bank, enhancing the overall archaeological potential of the monument.

Contextual characteristics: The monument occupies a prominent position in the landscape, with wide views. The surviving remains indicate intensive use of this landscape in prehistoric times.

National importance: The monument is of national significance because it is a well-preserved example of a roundhouse situated within a prehistoric landscape. The roundhouse survives in good condition and there is good potential for the survival of archaeological evidence relating to its construction and use. It retains important field characteristics, such as well-preserved perimeter walls, a pennanular ring-ditch and a well-defined entrance. The presence of concentrations of cairns and stretches of bank indicates use of this landscape over an extended period, enhancing its archaeological potential. The monument occupies a prominent position in the landscape. It would have been visible from a wide area of the prehistoric landscape in which people conducted their day-to-day activities. Its loss would affect our ability to understand this landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ50NW 51.


RCAHMS photography database:

Archive Nos:

C75352/12 CN.

C75352/13 CN.

C75352/14 CN.

C75352/15 CN.

D 85278 CS Blackhill - plan of ring-ditch house.

RCAHMS prints and drawings database:

Archive No:

DC 32836; Blackhill - plan of ring-ditch house.

Plan of small cairns and field bank (1994).

Archive No DC 32837; Blackhill - plan of ring-ditch house (1994).

Archive No DC 32837 PO; Blackhill - plan of ring-ditch house (1994).

RCAHMS manuscripts database:

Archive No:

MS 731/14; Printout of Afforestable Land Survey field database (Craigievar survey) (1994).

MS 712/49; Photocopies of Aberdeenshire Archaeological Service site record sheets for map sheets NJ50NW and NJ50NE, received 5 March 1999.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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