Ancient Monuments

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Stemster, long cairn 790m NNW of Roadside

A Scheduled Monument in Thurso and Northwest Caithness, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 58.5437 / 58°32'37"N

Longitude: -3.4204 / 3°25'13"W

OS Eastings: 317420

OS Northings: 962603

OS Grid: ND174626

Mapcode National: GBR K6X4.PY0

Mapcode Global: WH6CX.FJH6

Entry Name: Stemster, long cairn 790m NNW of Roadside

Scheduled Date: 12 August 2005

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11239

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: enclosed cremation cemetery

Location: Bower

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Thurso and Northwest Caithness

Traditional County: Caithness

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a long cairn, visible as a turf covered mound, situated immediately to the NNW of a small reservoir, at the edge of a farm track.

The main axis of the cairn, c. 45m in length, runs SSE-NNW, rising from 0.3 m in the NNW into a circular mound with a height of c.2.5m in the SSE. It has a maximum width of c. 22m at the SSE end, which has been truncated by the building of the reservoir.

RCAHMS indentified this site with that excavated by Tress Barry in 1904, although this is not certain. In the RCAHMS report of the excavation, mention is made of an inhumation in the chamber and another apparently secondary unburnt intermnment in the debris near the top of the cairn which was accompanied by pieces of an urn. No trace of any chamber can now be seen.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape, with maximum dimensions 49m NNW-SSE by 37m transversely, to include the long cairn and an area around in which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive. The area is bounded by a farm track to the N and E, and by the boundary of the reservoir to the S, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to our understanding of prehistoric ritual and funerary practices. Despite truncation by the reservoir it remains an impressive monument related to other monuemnts in the vicinity.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as ND16SE 1.

References:

Davidson J L and Henshall A S 1991, THE CHAMBERED CAIRNS OF CAITHNESS: AN INVENTORY OF THE STRUCTURES AND THEIR CONTENTS, Edinburgh, 132-4, No. 46.

Henshall A S 1963, THE CHAMBERED TOMBS OF SCOTLAND, Vol. 1, Edinburgh, 286, CAT 46.

RCAHMS 1911, THIRD REPORT AND INVENTORY OF MONUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS IN THE COUNTY OF CAITHNESS, LONDON, Edinburgh: HMSO, 4, No. 9.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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