Ancient Monuments

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Stone circle, 52m southwest of Druid's Park House

A Scheduled Monument in Strathtay, Perth and Kinross

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Latitude: 56.5301 / 56°31'48"N

Longitude: -3.4603 / 3°27'37"W

OS Eastings: 310271

OS Northings: 738518

OS Grid: NO102385

Mapcode National: GBR V5.WJ24

Mapcode Global: WH5NM.T4D9

Entry Name: Stone circle, 52m southwest of Druid's Park House

Scheduled Date: 6 November 1929

Last Amended: 7 October 2020

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM1571

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: stone circle or ring

Location: Little Dunkeld

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Strathtay

Traditional County: Perthshire


The monument comprises the remains of a stone circle dating to the Late Neolithic period or early Bronze Age (around 3000-2000BC) set within an earthen bank. It is visible as a setting of five stones measuring 10m in overall diameter and standing up to around 1.7m in height, although originally it probably comprised 8 stones. The circular earthen mound around the stones was raised in the 19th century as part of landscaping in the grounds of Murthly asylum. The stone circle is located within a residential development in Murthly at around 65m above sea level.

The scheduled area is  circular, measuring 25m in diameter and is clipped to the south. It extends up to but does not include the modern fences on its north and east sides and extends up to but does not include the public footpath on its south side. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17):

a.  The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the past, or has the potential to do so as a prehistoric ceremonial monument. In particular, it adds to our understanding of Late Neolithic/ Early Bronze Age society in upland Scotland and the function, use and development of stone circles

b.  The monument retains structural and other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past. Although only some of the stones survive, the overall plan of the monument is clear and understandable. There is also significant potential for the survival of buried archaeological deposits, while the likely survival of paleoenvironmental deposits, mans that the monument can significantly add to our understanding of the environment at the time it was constructed. Such deposits can also inform us about the economy and society of the people who built and used it during the Late Neolithic/ Early Bronze Age.

c.  The monument is a rare example of a well-preserved Late Neolithic/ Early Bronze Age stone circle.

d.  The monument is a particularly good example of a Late Neolithic/ Early Bronze Age stone circle and is therefore an important representative of this monument type.

e.  The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular, it has the capacity to further our understanding of the construction, function, development and siting of such ritual monuments within central Perthshire

Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:

Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)

The monument comprises the upstanding remains of a stone circle, a prehistoric ritual or funerary monument comprising a circular or elliptical setting of boulders or monoliths. This type of monument was constructed and used from the late Neolithic to the early Bronze Age and the diameter and number of stones in each circle can both vary significantly. This particular example is larger than average size in comparison to other examples in this part of Perthshire. The stone circle is surrounded by a circular earthen mound which was raised up around it as part of the laying out of the grounds of Murthly Asylum (Canmore ID: 79587).

Stone circles are often part of larger complexes of ritual monuments that can include henges, timber circles and ring cairns. The circles themselves often have associated features such as outlying standing stones, central stones, stone avenues or rows, central cairns and burial cists, skeletal material and grave goods such as pottery, food vessels and stone objects. Although no evidence for related features is visible at this site, the potential for buried remains both within and around the circle is high.

In the 19th century there were reports of a funerary urn containing the bones of child and a bone object found within the grounds of the hospital. Further urns were found close to the stone circle in the 1860s during landscaping for the formation of the Murthly Asylum, and there remains the possibility of other funerary remains around and within the stone circle. There is also the potential for buried land surfaces and other environmental remains to survive within the sockets of the stones, and this could give us important information on the environment at the time the monument was constructed and the economy and society of the people who built and used it. Study and comparison of this monument to other stone circles provides the potential to reveal valuable information about prehistoric ritual sites and the economic and social situation in which they were constructed, used and abandoned.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

The National Record of the Historic Environment of Scotland records that there are around 630 stone circles across Scotland. These can be divided into three categories; four poster stone circles, recumbent stone circles and stone circles. The majority of these (almost 500) fall into the latter category, and this monument is one of those. Of these, distinct groupings are located in southwest Scotland, Arran, the Western Isles, northeast Scotland and Perthshire. This example is one of only seven examples containing more than four stones in this part of Perthshire. This contrasts with the large number of later prehistoric settlements that have been found in this area.

Stone circles appear in the late Neolithic and are believed to be an architectural development of earlier henges and timber circles, giving a more prominent and permanent definition in the landscape to these ritual monuments. Research into the function of stone circles has been inconclusive and interpretation of the available evidence has suggested funerary, ceremonial, ritual and gathering uses for these monuments. The function and use may have varied through time and over space. Researchers have confirmed direct relationships between the position, orientation and layout of these monuments with celestial events, and one suggestion is that they assisted astronomical calculations.

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)

There are no known associative characteristics that contribute to this monument's cultural significance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 28591 (accessed on 05/02/2020).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference MPK3638 (accessed on 05/02/2020).

Burl, A (2000). The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany. Yale University Press.

Mitchell, A. (1873). 'Notice of the contents of an urn at Murthly, Perthshire' in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Vol. 9, pp. 268-9. Available online at (accessed on 05/02/2020).

Coles F R (1908). 'Report on stone circles surveyed in Perthshire – North Eastern section; with measured plans and drawings (obtained under the Gunning Fellowship)' in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Vol. 42, pp. 158-161. Available online at ( (accessed on 17/02/2020).

RCAHMS (1990). North-East Perth an archaeological landscape. HMSO.

RCAHMS (1994). South-East Perth an archaeological landscape. HMSO.

Scottish Archaeological Research Framework – Bronze Age. Available online at


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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