Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairn Head, cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.2144 / 57°12'51"N

Longitude: -2.8483 / 2°50'53"W

OS Eastings: 348863

OS Northings: 814052

OS Grid: NJ488140

Mapcode National: GBR M9BN.7YG

Mapcode Global: WH7MQ.6XYS

Entry Name: Cairn Head, cairn

Scheduled Date: 27 September 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11621

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain)

Location: Leochel-Cushnie

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a grass-covered cairn that is situated on the summit of a low rise, about 120m NNW of West Mains of Cairncoullie farmsteading. A track leading from the farmsteading passes close to its W side. Several mature trees are planted around the edges of the mound.

The mounds appears to have been built in at least two stages: a relatively small mound about 10m in diameter and 0.5m in height has been built on top of a low, circular mound measuring up to 25m in diameter and 1m in height. A circular plantation enclosure, comprising a bank with a shallow internal ditch, overlies the larger mound. There is an area of erosion caused by cattle on the SW edge of the larger mound.

The area to be scheduled is approximately oval in plan, to include the cairn and an area around in which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics: This monument is a prehistoric burial cairn likely to have been built between 3500 and 4000 years ago. The surviving remains appear to demonstrate an interesting sequence of development comprising at least two phases, with a smaller mound constructed on top of an earlier, larger mound. Despite some erosion on the SW edge of the monument, and any damage caused by tree planting, its characteristic structural features are readily visible and its associated archaeological deposits are likely to be well preserved. The monument therefore retains the potential to provide dating evidence for its various phases of use and information about how it was constructed and used. The mound is also likely to seal information about the prehistoric environment in which Bronze Age people built it.

Contextual characteristics: The form of this monument suggests it has a complicated and unusual biography. It occupies a prominent position in the landscape with wide views over the surrounding area. It would have had a significant place within the prehistoric landscape of the area.

National importance

The monument is of national significance because there is good potential for the survival of archaeological evidence relating to its construction and use, as well as the environment in which it was created. It demonstrates a phased sequence of development, important for the understanding of how the significance and function of monuments of this class changed over time. Occupying a prominent position, it would have been visible from a wide area of the prehistoric landscape in which people conducted their day-to-day activities. Its loss would affect our ability to understand this landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ41SE 13.


ORDNANCE SURVEY NAME BOOK (ABERDEENSHIRE), Original Name Books of the Ordnance Survey, 1867.

Ordnance Survey 6" map 1902, Aberdeenshire, 2nd edition 1902.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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