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Dalcrombie, hut circles, settlement & field system 300m NNW of

A Scheduled Monument in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.3287 / 57°19'43"N

Longitude: -4.3105 / 4°18'37"W

OS Eastings: 260991

OS Northings: 828824

OS Grid: NH609288

Mapcode National: GBR H9QC.47Q

Mapcode Global: WH3G2.R2K2

Entry Name: Dalcrombie, hut circles, settlement & field system 300m NNW of

Scheduled Date: 29 August 2006

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11436

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: field or field system; Secular: settlement, including deserted,

Location: Daviot and Dunlichity

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Traditional County: Inverness-shire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of two prehistoric hut circles, five rectangular structures forming a post-medieval, pre-clearance/improvement township, a large number of clearance cairns and a series of dykes, all sitting on a shelf of slowly rising ground on the upper reaches of a wide valley. They form the best-preserved remains of a wider pattern of dispersed clusters of hut circles, rectangular houses and associated field systems spread across the hillside.

The hut circles are between 4000 and 1500 years old. The northernmost is levelled into the slope, and is approximately 8.5m in diameter with 0.5m high stony walls. The other consists of a 2m thick wall, which no longer survives to the SW, enclosing a 9m diameter interior. Numerous clearance cairns cluster around each hut circle, and along with some of the interspersed dykes are likely to be associated with this phase of prehistoric upland occupation and farming.

The rectangular buildings are clustered together towards the south end of the monument. They are roughly aligned with their axes downhill. The buildings vary in size, reaching up to 16m long by 3.5 m wide, with rubble-faced wall-footings up to 1m in width and 0.3m in height. Several exhibit internal partitions and have evidence for remodelling, suggesting several phases of settlement. The shape and form of these structural footings indicate they are between 300 and 100 years old, although as they are not marked on the 1st edition OS map they may substantially predate its compilation (Inverness-shire 1875, sheet xxx). In contrast to the settlements marked on the early OS maps for the region, which take the form of planned farmsteads, this settlement is irregularly and haphazardly laid out, which would tend to confirm an early nineteenth-century, immediately pre-clearance/improvement date for its occupation.

The area to be scheduled is an irregular polygon which includes the hut circles, later settlement, a sample of the dykes, a number of the nearby cairns and associated archaeological deposits, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The area is dissected by a fence, which is to be excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument's archaeological significance is as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument is a well-preserved example of multi-period upland settlement and land-use with upstanding remains of occupation dating from over the last four millennia. There is a high likelihood of associated well-preserved sub-surface remains. It has a high potential to reveal much about site location strategies and changes in farming over a considerable period of time, and of the developing social, cultural and economic lives of the groups that occupied in upland zones from later prehistory until the post-medieval period. Cartographic evidence suggests that the later settlement represents the form and structure of a community runrig township on the eve of clearance and improvement.

National Importance:

The monument is of national importance because it represents well-preserved examples of housing and farming related to the occupation of the upland Highlands over the last four millennia. It has the potential to make a contribution to our understanding of later prehistoric upland land-use and society, to inform future research into post-medieval settlement and how life and land-use changed and developed from the eighteenth to the nineteenth centuries. It has the potential to answer important questions about housing, culture and economy and why this location attracted settlement over time. Through its potential to provide a picture of settlement and society immediately prior to the clearance and improvement of the surrounding landscape this monument has additional potential to shed light on the reasons for, and nature of these socio-economic changes. Its loss would significantly impede our ability to study these questions.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NH62NW 7.0.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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