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West Croachy House, cairns 1000m ESE of

A Scheduled Monument in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.3118 / 57°18'42"N

Longitude: -4.2349 / 4°14'5"W

OS Eastings: 265480

OS Northings: 826796

OS Grid: NH654267

Mapcode National: GBR H9XD.GVB

Mapcode Global: WH3G3.XHK0

Entry Name: West Croachy House, cairns 1000m ESE of

Scheduled Date: 2 May 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11433

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: field clearance cairn, cairnfield; Prehistoric ritual and funera

Location: Daviot and Dunlichity

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Traditional County: Inverness-shire

Description

The monument comprises two burial cairns, and a sample of other cairns, some of which resemble sepulchral forms. The monument is part of a larger settlement complex composed of denuded hut circles, field lynchets and clearance and burial cairns between 4000 and 3500 years old. It is situated on heather moorland at 320 m OD on the upper reaches of a hillside, the high point of which is called Carn Mor.

The most conspicuous burial cairn is 8 m in diameter and 0.7 m high, with two stones of a kerb visible in the E arc and three others in SW. The top of this cairn has been disturbed and three slabs of a cist lie displaced on the top of a partly back-filled excavation. Another burial cairn lies 18 m to the SE of this. It is 6 m in diameter with four blocks, each about 2 m apart around the S arc. The remaining cairns are up to 5 m in diameter and 0.4 m in height; some of the more regularly circle-shaped examples exhibit ephemeral traces of kerbing and may be additional burial cairns.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the main burial cairn, to include the remains described and an area around in which evidence for the construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument consists of burial and clearance cairns directly associated with upland prehistoric settlement. There is likely to have been a direct association with the people who lived in the nearby settlement and the people whose bodies or ashes they interred in the burial cairns. This relationship is integral to understanding how later prehistoric societies interpreted the cultures and landscapes which they inhabited and interacted with. The close spatial correspondence between the burial and clearance cairns is likely to indicate that there was a close connection in how these monuments were created and perceived. This monument provides an opportunity for such relationships to be studied in the future, alongside an understanding of changes and developments in sepulchral architecture. Although the upper levels of the central cairn have been disturbed, the structure and lower deposits are likely to be well preserved, as are related archaeological deposits in the surrounding area.

Contextual characteristics: Few burial mounds have been identified in similar contexts, close by settlements, clearance cairns and agricultural activity in the Inverness region. This monument therefore provides a rare opportunity for the study of how the spheres of life, agriculture and death interacted among later prehistoric societies within this region. This will have ramifications for understanding patterns of regionality throughout Scotland in this period.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it is a good example of a later prehistoric cairnfield, incorporating burial and clearance cairns of similar date, in proximity to number of settlements and field systems. It has the potential to inform our understanding of the pattern and development of upland exploitation and occupation, and the perceived relationship between the spheres of sacred and profane existence within later prehistoric communities and societies. Its loss would significantly detract from our ability to understand later prehistoric burial and ritual practices in this region and would affect our ability to understand this landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the monument as NH62NE 6 and it is recorded in the Highland SMR as NH62NE0006.

References:

RCAHMS 1994, UPPER STRATHNAIRN, INVERNESS: AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY: SUMMARY REPORT, Edinburgh, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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