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Muirs of Kildrummy, souterrains 230m west of and 350m SSW of

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.264 / 57°15'50"N

Longitude: -2.8954 / 2°53'43"W

OS Eastings: 346092

OS Northings: 819616

OS Grid: NJ460196

Mapcode National: GBR M96J.BCK

Mapcode Global: WH7MH.HPH6

Entry Name: Muirs of Kildrummy, souterrains 230m W of and 350m SSW of

Scheduled Date: 11 October 1960

Last Amended: 2 December 2003

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM60

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: souterrain, earth-house

Location: Kildrummy

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of two souterrains of prehistoric date. Both souterrains are situated within small plantations on arable farmland to the west of Muirs of Kildrummy. They lie about 330m apart at around 220m O.D. and are both overlain by a dyke which runs N-S. The monument was first scheduled in 1960. The present re-scheduling has been prompted by the recommendations of a monument warden visit, to extend protection to cover the whole of the archaeologically sensitive area.

The northern souterrain is situated under a small stand of trees 240m W of Muirs of Kildrummy. The main part of the passage is orientated E and W, but at the W end it turns right-angles onto the narrow entrance. The passage measures about 16m in length and ranges in width from 1.3m at the W end to 1.9m at the E and. Most of the passage retains its original roofing of large slabs, but this has been removed over a distance of 2.4m from the E end and 1.5m at the W end. The walls of the souterrain are up to 1.7m high and have been constructed primarily of angular random masonry on a basal course of large irregular boulders. The upper courses of the masonry are corbelled and the narrowing in the breadth towards the roof is most obvious at the E end, where it reduces from 1.9m to 1.5m. At the entrance a set of five steps, which may be a comparatively modern insertion, descends through a narrow passage, which measures between 0.5m and 0.7m in breadth and is no more than 0.9m in height where it joins the main chamber. At least two further steps are probably buried beneath soil that has washed or fallen into the end of the passage. At the opposite end of the main passage, in the S wall 1m from the E end, and 0.7m from the floor, there is an entrance to a secondary chamber, which is similar in terms of its location and construction to that recorded at Glenkindie. The entrance measures 0.65m in width and 0.6m in height. The secondary chamber has been largely in-filled, but at least three roofing slabs can be seen over a distance of 1m. The roof of the souterrain incorporates at least two cup-marked slabs. One is situated on the S side 4.6m from the E end, above and between the fourth and fifth surviving roofing-slabs. Very little of the stone is visible, but the underside is decorated with cupmarks measuring up to 75mm in diameter; two of the cups are linked by a short length of channel, and there are other lengths of channel present. On the N side, in a similar location, the second stone bears cup-and-ring markings, but the stone is too inaccessible for any details of the decoration to be noted.

The southern souterrain is situated under a small stand of trees 330m SW of Muirs of Kildrummy and appears to be covered by a low mound, measuring no more than 0.6m in height. The interior is accessible by way of the original entrance at the NE end, where a wooden doorway of relatively recent date has been placed a short distance into the passage. The passage is orientated NE-and SW, and is roughly S-shaped on plan, measuring 10.5m in length and varying in breadth from 1.2m at the entrance to 2.5m close to the SW end. The walls of the passage, which are up to 1.6m in height, are constructed of dry-stone rubble set on a basal course of large boulders, and are corbelled to such an extent that along the SE side the top of the wall overhangs the base by as much as 0.6m. Several corbel-stones appear to have been slipped out of position and fence-posts have been placed under them to prevent them from collapsing into the chamber. The roof of the souterrain is constructed of large granite slabs and, except for a length of 1.5m where the slabs have been removed at the entrance, is complete. The entrance is framed by two short jamb-stones set 0.7m apart and measuring 0.8m in height, and at least three steps (which may be modern) can be seen descending within the narrow entrance passage, which measures 0.9m in breadth and has a surviving length of 0.9m. Two of the basal stones of the main passage are cup-marked. One of them, which lies midway along the SE side, is heavily cup-marked, and measures 1.2m in length and at least 0.45m in height, and on its face there are at least 37 cups, the largest measuring up to 40mm in diameter. The second stone has been incorporated into the basal course on the NW side some 2.4m from the NW door-jamb. The stone measures 0.42m in length by 0.33m in height, and there are at least four cupmarks on its face, the largest measuring up to 60mm in diameter.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises two circles containing the remains described and areas around them within which related material may be expected to be found. They are both circular in shape, the southernmost circle measuring 30m in diameter and the northernmost circle measuring 35m in diameter, as indicated in red on the accompanying map. The above ground components of the field walls present within the scheduled areas are excluded from the schedule.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance as the remains of two well-preserved souterrains of prehistoric date, which have the potential to contribute to an understanding of prehistoric settlement and economy in this region of Scotland. Their original function is as yet unknown, although they are generally regarded as having been used for storage in the later Iron Age. Where excavated, some examples are believed to have been associated with larger, above-ground settlements of timber buildings. No excavation has taken place in this area although records from antiquity suggest a remarkable concentration of souterrain sites, but no evidence for contemporary settlement has yet been identified.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NJ41NE 1.01 and NJ41NE 1.02.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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