Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Muirton, bank barrow, souterrains and enclosures 350m WSW of

A Scheduled Monument in Heldon and Laich, Moray

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Latitude: 57.696 / 57°41'45"N

Longitude: -3.3057 / 3°18'20"W

OS Eastings: 322267

OS Northings: 868105

OS Grid: NJ222681

Mapcode National: GBR L86C.VVX

Mapcode Global: WH6J1.6T3J

Entry Name: Muirton, bank barrow, souterrains and enclosures 350m WSW of

Scheduled Date: 11 November 2003

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10983

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: souterrain, earth-house; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cursus

Location: Drainie

County: Moray

Electoral Ward: Heldon and Laich

Traditional County: Morayshire


The monument comprises the remains of a bank barrow, souterrains, ring ditches, pit-circles with souterrains attached, and other features of prehistoric date, visible as cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs.

The monument lies in arable farmland at around 10m OD and comprises a range of cropmark features. To the western side of the monument, and crossing a field boundary, is a bank barrow approximately 100m long and 10m wide, which appears to be aligned on a N-S axis. It is defined by two parallel ditches with open ends, between which can be seen a large central pit. Two circular enclosures lie to the NW of the northern end, both approximately 20m in diameter. It is possible that these features date to the early Neolithic period.

At least two souterrains can be identified to the SE of the southernmost end of the bank barrow, and a further souterrain appears to be associated with a pit-house approximately 15m in diameter. To the NE of the northern end of the bank barrow at least three ring-ditch houses of prehistoric date can also be identified.

A series of linear cropmarks can be seen about 150m to the SW of the southernmost end of the bank barrow, which suggest the remains of at least two rectilinear enclosures.

In addition other cropmarks in the vicinity include pits and linear features, which may represent the remains of associated structures. These cropmarks may not all be contemporary and might represent a long history of human occupation in this area in the later prehistoric period.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around and between them within which related material may be expected to be found. It is rectangular in shape with maximum dimensions of 560m NNW to SSE by 300m transversely, bounded on the SE and SW sides by fences, which are themselves excluded from the scheduling, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

The boundaries to the west and south are defined by the boundary fence, which is itself excluded from the designated area. The above ground elements of the fence that runs from west to east through the monument is also excluded from the scheduled area.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as evidence for activity throughout the prehistoric period. The bank barrow is one of only six found in Scotland of a monument type that is also found in southern England, and dates possibly to the Neolithic period.

None have been investigated in Scotland, and their function is as yet unknown, although it is likely that it relates to ritual activity in some way. The collection of souterrains is in itself remarkable and it is likely that evidence survives for associated domestic activity, which has the potential to inform our understanding of the function of this type of monument within the contemporary society.

The variety of cropmarks within the vicinity is remarkable, and suggests that this site retained significance across millennia in prehistory. It is of national importance for its potential to inform our understanding of both the Neolithic and the later prehistoric periods, and related continuity and change.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ26NW 81.


Greig M (1996s) 'Muirton (Drainie parish), cropmarks', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT, 74.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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