Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Torr na Sithinn Wood, cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.1771 / 57°10'37"N

Longitude: -3.0747 / 3°4'29"W

OS Eastings: 335120

OS Northings: 810101

OS Grid: NJ351101

Mapcode National: GBR WD.1X0F

Mapcode Global: WH6LN.RV1T

Entry Name: Torr na Sithinn Wood, cairn

Scheduled Date: 23 November 2006

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11400

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Strathdon

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


This monument is a prehistoric burial cairn, between 3500 and 4000 years old, now reduced to little more than a ring-bank, measuring 9.5m in diameter, enclosing a relatively flat interior. At least ten large, earthfast boulders, measuring up to 0.6m in length and 0.4m in height, that protrude through the turf around the perimeter, are probably the remains of a kerb.

The cairn is situated at the S end of a prominent, steep-sided, fluvioglacial knoll, sitting at the top of a broad valley, now mostly serving as pasture. Trees have been planted around the sides of the knoll, but none are growing within the cairn itself.

The area to be scheduled is a 20m circle centred on the cairn, to include the cairn and any other related archaeological deposits nearby, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

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

Intrinsic characteristics: Despite the erosion or robbing out that may have reduced much of the upper, central body of the monument, there is a strong likelihood that the characteristic structural features that define this class of monument, and the internal and external archaeological deposits associated with this particular monument remain well preserved. The monument occupies a high and prominent position in the landscape with wide views over the surrounding valley; it would have had a significant place within the prehistoric landscape of this area. Its place-name suggests that it also had a relevance for societies in later historic periods.

Contextual characteristics: Most of the surviving examples of this class of monument are situated on the upper slopes of hills. Knolls, such as the one that this example is situated upon, were once much more common throughout this region, but most have subsequently been quarried away. Many of these may have supported other cairns. This site offers a rare opportunity to examine the setting of a cairn situated in such a locality. This example also shares views with cairns up on the nearby hills forming the valley sides, suggesting that there was some form of visual relationship between cairns in the two areas.

National Importance: This monument is of national importance because it is a rare surviving example of a cairn built on a knoll, rather than on a hillside. Its prominence suggests that it would have formed an intrinsic part of the prehistoric landscape in this area. It is visible from most of the lower slopes of the valley, where people would have conducted most of their day-to-day activities, and it would have shared a visual relationship with other ritual monuments, such as cairns, strung along the tops of the valley sides. Its loss would affect our ability to understand this landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ31SE 44.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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