Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Timpanheck Cottage, cursus 340m WNW of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale East and Eskdale, Dumfries and Galloway

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 55.0606 / 55°3'38"N

Longitude: -3.0695 / 3°4'10"W

OS Eastings: 331785

OS Northings: 574537

OS Grid: NY317745

Mapcode National: GBR 790X.8Q

Mapcode Global: WH6Y3.T2J9

Entry Name: Timpanheck Cottage, cursus 340m WNW of

Scheduled Date: 1 October 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11964

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cursus/bank barrow

Location: Half Morton

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises the cropmarked remains of a cursus monument visible on oblique aerial photographs. The monument lies in a cultivated field (currently under pasture) east of the Cadgill Burn, on the NE side of the Solway Firth at approximately 80m above sea level.

Cursus monuments are a type of large rectilinear enclosure constructed using parallel ditches or rows of pits and upcast mounds of earth. They appear to have been ritual or ceremonial sites, and in Scotland they date to the early or middle Neolithic period (the first half of the 4th millennium BC). Cropmarks represent negative archaeological features, the fills of which retain more moisture than the surrounding subsoil, resulting in the enhanced growth of the crops above.

The cursus survives as an arrangement of two parallel ditches aligned NW/SE with a terminal ditch at the monument's S end. It is only visible in aerial photographs and there is no visible evidence of the parallel ditches continuing to the north-west nor any evidence for the form of the other terminal. The ditches run for almost 200m and at their widest are 20m apart. This is therefore one of the narrower cursus monuments known of in Scotland.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found, 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 retains a significant proportion of its estimated original shape, structure and extent despite surviving only as a cropmark. The size and shape of the ditches are distinctive to this broad class of enclosure monument. The arrangement and the construction of the ditches can tell us about the nature and possible use of enclosure monuments. The monument is likely to preserve good environmental and artefactual evidence, particularly in its ditches, and the interior may contain traces of structures and evidence for activities associated with the enclosure. The monument, therefore, has good potential to contribute to our knowledge of ritual and ceremony during the Neolithic period.

Contextual characteristics

This monument is a good example from a very small but relatively widespread group, collectively known as large ceremonial enclosure monuments, which also include bank barrows. Examples of cursus monuments are found elsewhere in Britain and possibly in Ireland too. Typically examples can range in length from 170m to 4km with considerable variations in form, including width.

Over 90 possible examples are known in Scotland and they tend to be located in the basins of river systems and geographically appear to be limited to eastern and SW Scotland. There are concentrations in Angus, Nithsdale, Annandale and East Lothian with outliers along the Moray Firth, the Clyde valley, the Forth valley, the Tay and in Ayrshire. Thirteen of these monuments are located in the south-west along Nithsdale and Annandale with this monument at Timpaneck being the easternmost of this regional cluster.

We think this distribution is as much to do with the pattern of survey and recording as it is the original distribution of examples in the class.

Cursus monuments tend not to be isolated but part of a wider monument complex that may include stone circles, henges and burial monuments. They also tend to be sited in connection with natural features as water courses, river basins, false crests and viewpoints. The setting of a cursus among a wider complex of contemporary monuments and its surrounding landscape is important when considering its purpose and function. We know from excavated examples that they were probably built over more than one phase and that they often contain, modify or otherwise incorporate earlier monuments, as well as acting as a focus for later activity. We have yet to discover the northern extent of the cursus at Timpaneck and the monument's relationship with its contemporary monuments and the surrounding countryside.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular to provide information on ritual and ceremonial aspects of life during the early and middle Neolithic period. It is a distinctive, relatively uncommon example of a rare group of large enclosure monuments and as such can yield information about the construction and possible function of these enclosures. There is a growing body of evidence that cursus monuments were part of wider ritual and ceremonial landscapes. The loss of this example would therefore impede our ability to understand the nature and context of early prehistoric ritual and ceremony (such as processions and the control of people's movement through a landscape) and the part that the construction and use of cursus monuments played in the dynamics of Neolithic society.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NY37SW 18.



Brophy K 1999, ?The cursus monuments of Scotland?. In Barclay A and Harding J eds. 1999, PATHWAYS AND CEREMONIES: THE CURSUS MONUMENT OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND, Neo Stud Group 4, 119-29.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.