Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Carn Liath, cairn, Shurrery

A Scheduled Monument in Thurso and Northwest Caithness, Highland

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Latitude: 58.5015 / 58°30'5"N

Longitude: -3.6506 / 3°39'2"W

OS Eastings: 303901

OS Northings: 958215

OS Grid: ND039582

Mapcode National: GBR K6C8.0FT

Mapcode Global: WH5BV.WLS1

Entry Name: Carn Liath, cairn, Shurrery

Scheduled Date: 3 December 1938

Last Amended: 26 July 2001

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM437

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Reay

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Thurso and Northwest Caithness

Traditional County: Caithness


The monument comprises a prehistoric burial cairn immediately adjacent to the Forss Water. It was scheduled in 1938, but the area scheduled at that time barely covers the cairn and takes no account of the area around it, where the cairn and associated structures may extend below the ground surface. This extension enlarges the protected area to include the cairn and the area of archaeological importance around it.

The cairn is substantial, measuring about 32m by 18m and standing up to 2m tall. There is no sign of an inner chamber, and it is possible that the cairn's interior has not been disturbed since ancient times. On the visible evidence, it is impossible to determine which sub-class of cairns it belongs to, but its size suggests it is a chambered tomb of Neolithic date.

The area now to be scheduled is a circle 50m in diameter centred on the mid-point of the cairn, but excluding that portion of the circle occupied by the Forss Water. This area includes the cairn and an area around it, in which the cairn and associated remains are likely to extend below ground level.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a very substantial prehistoric burial mound which has no obvious sign of serious disturbance and may preserve its interior structures and deposits intact. It has great potential to provide information relating to prehistoric ritual and funerary practice and architecture.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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