Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Sidhean Tuath,burnt mound,Balranald

A Scheduled Monument in Beinn na Foghla agus Uibhist a Tuath, Na h-Eileanan Siar

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Latitude: 57.6019 / 57°36'6"N

Longitude: -7.4945 / 7°29'40"W

OS Eastings: 71929

OS Northings: 870177

OS Grid: NF719701

Mapcode National: GBR 78WM.Q1L

Mapcode Global: WGV23.V6C4

Entry Name: Sidhean Tuath,burnt mound,Balranald

Scheduled Date: 4 September 1995

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6221

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: burnt mound

Location: North Uist

County: Na h-Eileanan Siar

Electoral Ward: Beinn na Foghla agus Uibhist a Tuath

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument comprises a burnt mound, a cooking place of probable Bronze Age date. It was in the past regarded as the possible site of an Iron Age fortification, or dun.

The monument takes the form of a grass-covered mound some 15m N-S by 12m, and stands over 2m high above a flat boggy area which has now been partly drained. It is oval on plan, and in places erosion by livestock has revealed the composition of the mound, which is of small stones, all of which are fire-cracked or reddened. Near the foot of the mound, on the E side, several larger stones protrude, suggesting that the mound may overlie the remains of associated structures.

Burnt mounds are the accumulated result of the immersion of heated stones in a trough of water, to bring the latter to boiling point. They are generally regarded as a by-product of cooking by boiling, but at some excavated sites interpretations such as baths or sauna- baths have been suggested. There are no excavated examples in the Western Isles (indeed, this monument may be the first positively identified example of a burnt mound in the Outer Hebrides), but on analogy with the Northern Isles a burnt mound of this order of size is most likely to date to the Bronze Age (circa 1800 BC- circa 600 BC).

The area to be scheduled is circular, 25m in diameter, to include the mound and a small area around in which evidence relating to its use and accumulation may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a well-preserved burnt mound, which has the potential, through excavation and analysis, to provide important information about prehistoric domestic economy and diet. It derives additional interest as the first such monument identified in the Western Isles Islands Area, although the type is well-known from Orkney, Shetland, Caithness and South-Western Scotland. It is a monument-type which is now being recognised in increasing numbers throughout a much wider range, and it is unlikely in the extreme that Sidhean Tuath is unique in the Western Isles.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NF 77 SW 6.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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