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South Brideswell, settlement, field system and cairn 340m north west of

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

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Latitude: 57.1799 / 57°10'47"N

Longitude: -2.8146 / 2°48'52"W

OS Eastings: 350849

OS Northings: 810193

OS Grid: NJ508101

Mapcode National: GBR WQ.1LFP

Mapcode Global: WH7MX.QSWN

Entry Name: South Brideswell, settlement, field system and cairn 340m NW of

Scheduled Date: 23 November 2006

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11487

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: ring ca

Location: Leochel-Cushnie

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises the remains of five hut circles, an enclosure, a ring cairn and a field system, all of prehistoric date. The remains are situated within a semi-improved field of rough grazing on the gentle, E-facing hillside to the WNW of South Brideswell steading. The field was cleared of trees in the recent past and coniferous plantations still delimit the N, W and S sides of the site (although the field system may extend into the trees). The fields to the E have been improved.

The ring cairn stands on a terrace about 150m W of South Brideswell. It is much disturbed but may be of two periods. The first phase appears to have been a ring-cairn 23m in diameter and 0.5m high. It had an outer kerb of edge-set stones, now largely defined by robber trenches and stone holes, but upwards of 15 stones remain in situ on the SW and NW. A trackway and field dyke overlie the SE quadrant, largely destroying the cairn in that quarter. In the second phase the ring-cairn was supplemented by a round cairn, 14m in diameter and now 1m in height, which was built over the central court. This cairn has also been extensively robbed, particularly on the SE.

Five hut-circles and an enclosure are situated within a scatter of around 140 grass-grown small cairns to the NW of the field. Within the scatter of cairns there are stretches of stony banks and lynchets, which in two cases are overlain by cairns. Four of the hut-circles measure between 8.4m and 10.5m in diameter within grass-grown stony banks up to 2.4m in thickness and 0.3m in height. The fifth hut-circle is larger, measuring 12.5m in diameter within a stony bank spread to 2.6m in thickness. The entrances are all on the eastern arc of bank, and three of the hut-circles are levelled into the slope. The northernmost two hut-circles are conjoined, forming a figure-of-eight on plan. The enclosure, which may be the remains of a hut platform, is oval and has a slightly sloping interior. It measures 11.6m from E to W by 7.4m transversely within a stony rim 0.3m in height, and the entrance may be on the ESE. A reverse C-shaped bank to the E of the enclosure defines the edge of an oval depression, measuring 20m from N to S by 15m transversely, which may have been a yard.

The area to be scheduled is an irregular shape defined to the N, S and W by the field boundaries to the coniferous plantation and to the E it is partially defined by the W limit of a track which runs N-S though the field, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area includes the five hut circles, enclosure, ring cairn and field system and any associated archaeology. The top surfaces of the two tracks shown on the map running though the scheduled area are excluded from the scheduled area to a depth of 30cm.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument consists of a number of prehistoric features which are not all contemporary. Although specific elements of the complex have been significantly disturbed, particularly the ring cairn, the features survive as upstanding features in the landscape and as a group are well preserved. There is a strong likelihood that archaeological deposits associated with the various elements of the monument are well preserved. The inter-relationship of the various elements of the monument and the concentration of features amounts to what can be considered to be relict prehistoric landscape.

Contextual characteristics: Most surviving examples of such sites survive as individual features or as small groupings of hut circles and cairns, often situated on the upper slopes of hills and high moorland. In contrast, this monument consists of a range of different features over a substantial area. In addition, although in an upland location (350m OD), the monument is located on the lower slopes of Pressendye Hill and is surrounded by improved and semi-improved farmland with some forestry. The site therefore offers a rare opportunity to examine this type of site in such a locality.

National Importance: The monument is of national importance because it is a rare example of a well-preserved, complex prehistoric relict landscape situated within improved farmland. The lanscape encompasses domestic and ritual aspects of the lives of its past inhabitants, with remnants of the houses they occupied, the fields they cleared and tilled, and the burial and ritual practices they undertook. The loss of ,or damage to this monument, would diminish our capacity to understand this palimpsest and how previous peoples once had inhabited it.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ51SW 31.0.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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