Ancient Monuments

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Achcoillenaborgie, cairns 500m north of Lochan Duinte

A Scheduled Monument in North, West and Central Sutherland, Highland

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Latitude: 58.5005 / 58°30'1"N

Longitude: -4.206 / 4°12'21"W

OS Eastings: 271538

OS Northings: 959030

OS Grid: NC715590

Mapcode National: GBR H6Z8.B3B

Mapcode Global: WH49G.CLCT

Entry Name: Achcoillenaborgie, cairns 500m N of Lochan Duinte

Scheduled Date: 11 December 1934

Last Amended: 15 December 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM1781

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: long cairn

Location: Farr

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: North, West and Central Sutherland

Traditional County: Sutherland


The monument comprises two long cairns; funerary and ritual monuments dating from the Neolithic period (c. 5000-2000 BC). It was originally scheduled in 1934 and only the above ground structures of the cairns themselves were covered by this scheduling. This rescheduling takes in a larger area to ensure that all the archaeological remains likely to be associated with the cairns are protected.

The monument lies in rough grazing land overlooking the River Naver at around 15m OD. The cairns are set roughly in line, aligned NNW-SSE. Both were excavated at least twice during the late 19th century. The southern cairn measures a maximum of 75m long by 24m wide, narrowing to 13m at the S end, with a maximum height of approximately 3m. The Victorian excavations exposed a chamber near the northern end which measures approximately 8m by 2m by 1.5m deep. This chamber is set at a slight angle to the axis of the cairn and at least two lintel stones are still in position. There are forecourts at both ends of the cairn, defined by horns built out of the body of the cairn, and the fragmentary remains of facades made up of large orthostats. The northern cairn comprises two sections; a heel-shaped, horned cairn containing a roughly circular chamber to the north, and a long cairn to the south. These sections are separated by a gap approximately 2m wide, and it is probable that the two sections once formed a continuous whole, measuring approximately 60m long by 17m wide. The presence of forecourts at either end of this unified monument, following the same pattern as the southern cairn, further strengthens the argument that the two sections once formed one cairn.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them in which material relating to their construction and use may be expected to survive. It is irregular in outline, with maximum dimensions of 150m NNW-SSE by 40m transversely, bounded on the N by a fence, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to our understanding of prehistoric funerary and ritual practices. It may be expected to contain material relating to its mode of construction and use. The cairns are unique in the north of Scotland in their use of upright stones in the fa├žade, and the development and use of these cairns may have continued through most of the third millennium BC.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded in the RCAHMS as NC 75 NW 3.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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