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Stonehenge House, chambered cairn 20m WNW of

A Scheduled Monument in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.3701 / 57°22'12"N

Longitude: -4.1907 / 4°11'26"W

OS Eastings: 268353

OS Northings: 833189

OS Grid: NH683331

Mapcode National: GBR J907.R4M

Mapcode Global: WH4H2.L0NV

Entry Name: Stonehenge House, chambered cairn 20m WNW of

Scheduled Date: 29 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11548

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: chambered cairn

Location: Daviot and Dunlichity

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Traditional County: Inverness-shire

Description

This monument comprises the remains of a chambered cairn dating to the Early Bronze Age. It is visible as a sub-circular setting of monoliths wholly contained within the back garden of a private residential property at around 200m above sea level.

The monument belongs to a class known as Clava cairns. Several examples of these are found in the Clava area as well as more widely in Strathnairn. The cairn measures approximately 11.5m in diameter and is bounded by a low circular concrete retaining wall. All cairn material has been robbed but two sections of upright kerbstones up to 1m high remain on the E and W sides of the cairn. The remainder of the kerb consists of prone stones. The tomb has an internal passage that runs from the SSW, towards a slightly offset central chamber. 19th century accounts lead us to infer that the cairn was originally surrounded by a stone circle. Long grass covers the ground between and around the stones.

The area to be scheduled is sub-circular on plan, to include the remains described above, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The above-ground elements of the modern circular retaining wall are specifically excluded from the scheduling to allow for its maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument retains several of the key field characteristics of its class (the Clava cairn): a defined outer kerb, central burial chamber and evidence for a surrounding stone circle. Present evidence does not permit us to tell if the kerbstones ever showed the characteristic grading of size towards the SW often found in this class of monument. Many of the stones have fallen over, some may have been moved in more modern times and some lie in a prone state. Several researchers note the apparently unique shape of this monument's central chamber. As with other examples, the passage leads towards the centre of the cairn from the SSW but does not widen out into a differentiated circular space. Instead, the central chamber extends into a slightly wider aisle that stops roughly in the centre of the cairn. Archaeological fieldwork at other similar sites has shown how complex the development of these types of burial monument and their components are. This cairn is a good example of the wider class of burial monuments, not just because of this unique structure. Material lying underneath the monument is also likely to provide information about the climate, flora and fauna and wider environment during the Early Bronze Age in this location.

Contextual characteristics: This is an example of a Clava cairn, a geographically specific type of Bronze Age burial monument. Only around 50 examples exist and they are generally limited to NE Scotland around Inverness, Strathnairn and the Moray Firth. This monument forms part of the southernmost group of similar examples in Strathnairn but occupies a slightly different landscape position to the other examples. It lies further away from the river (a tributary of the River Nairn) on a terrace and is not immediately visible from its nearest neighbour, a ring-cairn monument at Tordarroch.

Associative characteristics: There is a long established antiquarian interest in this monument dating back to published surveys of 1884 when the monument was known as Croftcroy. It is also a well-known monument locally. It is the view of most prehistorians that there was an intimate relationship between the religious beliefs expressed by monuments such as Tordarroch, the surrounding landscape and the movements of the main astronomical bodies. This astronomical link continues to generate considerable interest today.

National Importance: This monument is of national importance because it represents a rare and regionally distinctive class of Early Bronze Age monument that can help us to understand burial and ritual practices in NE Scotland and their relationship to practices elsewhere. It is a significant, single component of a much larger prehistoric landscape partly defined by the River Nairn and displays a rare variation in its layout and internal form. It can contribute to our understanding of the development of monument complexes. The loss of the monument would affect our future ability to appreciate and understand the prehistoric landscape and its inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the monument as NH63SE 2; Highland Council SMR as NH63SE 2.

References:

Bradley R 2000, THE GOOD STONES: A NEW INVESTIGATION OF THE CLAVA CAIRNS, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland monograph series No. 17, Edinburgh.

Fraser J 1884, 'Descriptive notes on the stone circles of Strathnairn and neighbourhood of Inverness', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 18, 333-4.

Henshall A S 1963, THE CHAMBERED TOMBS OF SCOTLAND, 1, Edinburgh, 380-1, INV 18.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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