Ancient Monuments

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Mummer's Reive, cairn

A Scheduled Monument in West Garioch, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.3845 / 57°23'4"N

Longitude: -2.5719 / 2°34'18"W

OS Eastings: 365716

OS Northings: 832819

OS Grid: NJ657328

Mapcode National: GBR N906.GHP

Mapcode Global: WH8N6.GNJB

Entry Name: Mummer's Reive, cairn

Scheduled Date: 23 November 2006

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11629

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain)

Location: Culsalmond

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: West Garioch

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


This monument comprises a Bronze Age burial cairn that is situated on a conspicuous, wooded shoulder on the SW shoulder of Meikle Tom, at an altitude of 180m OD. Several trees have been planted on and around the cairn, which is in an area of grassland and heather scrub, to the S of an area of forestry.

The cairn survives as an approximately circular, grass covered bank, around 10m in diameter and 0.6m in height. This encloses an area with a concave profile, which indicates possible excavation of the cairn in the past. A later plantation dyke, in the form of a low bank planted with mature trees, is prominent on the S and SW sides of the monument. The plantation dyke lies at a distance varying from 5-11m from the edge of the cairn. There are some stones, possibly displaced from the bank, in the interior of the cairn. Some stones from field clearance are also deposited around the perimeter of the cairn.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the cairn, to include the cairn and an area around in which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics: Despite possibly having been damaged by excavation in the past, many of the characteristic structural features that define this class of monument survive well and the associated archaeological deposits are also likely to be well preserved.

Contextual characteristics: The monument occupies a prominent position in the landscape with wide views. It would have had a significant place within the prehistoric landscape of the area. In the absence of any significant evidence for prehistoric settlement sites, burial cairns such as this provide tangible evidence for Bronze Age occupation of this area.

Associative characteristics: The origin of the monument's name is unknown but the Reverend Masson thought the site to have been used as the seat of a sham bishop, known as a Mummer, elected according to custom annually, who conducted a service here.

National importance: The monument is of national significance because it retains important field characteristics and there is good potential for the survival of archaeological evidence relating to its construction and use. Occupying a prominent position in the landscape, the cairn would have been a highly visible component of the prehistoric landscape in which people conducted their day-to-day activities. Prehistoric cairns such as these are therefore tangible reminders of widespread prehistoric occupation of this area even though we have yet to find any significant evidence for associated settlements. Loss of this cairn would affect our ability to appreciate and understand this landscape. Later traditions provide interesting evidence for how the relevance of this landscape feature evolved through time.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ 63SE 2.


Ordnance Survey 6" map 1901, Aberdeenshire, 2nd edition.

ORDNANCE SURVEY NAME BOOK (ABERDEENSHIRE), Original Name Books of the Ordnance Survey, 1867.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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