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Woodend, cairn and cross-incised stone 550m SSW of

A Scheduled Monument in West Garioch, Aberdeenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.2774 / 57°16'38"N

Longitude: -2.5063 / 2°30'22"W

OS Eastings: 369568

OS Northings: 820866

OS Grid: NJ695208

Mapcode National: GBR X2.L2M3

Mapcode Global: WH8NT.GBQX

Entry Name: Woodend, cairn and cross-incised stone 550m SSW of

Scheduled Date: 9 November 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12009

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross-incised stone; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncerta

Location: Oyne

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: West Garioch

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument comprises a burial cairn of Bronze-Age date and an early-medieval cross and ogham-incised boulder. It is located in a small clearing in Bennachie Forest, a mature conifer plantation on the E flank of Millstone Hill, at about 200m above sea level.

Situated on the summit of a low but prominent ridge, the grass- and heather-covered cairn measures about 9m in diameter and about 0.7m in height. The remains of a ditch, some 3m wide by about 0.2m deep, are visible around the S half of the cairn. A cross-incised boulder lies about 10m to the NE of the cairn. The cross lies on the near-horizontal top face of the boulder and measures 0.35m by 0.35m by about 0.02m deep. The boulder also bears three groups of ogham inscription; one on its NE vertical face, one on its sloping NW face and one on its S face. Ogham is a form of early writing that had its origins in Ireland in about the 5th century AD and was probably introduced to Scotland in the 7th century AD.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the cairn, to include the remains described and an area around in which evidence relating to their 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 cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is in a good state of preservation. The characteristic structural features of the cairn are readily visible. Associated archaeological deposits are likely to be well preserved and it retains the potential to provide dating evidence for its use and information about how it was constructed and used. The cairn is also likely to seal information about the prehistoric environment in which it was built. The cross and ogham-incised boulder is an expression of language and religious belief from the early-medieval period that has the potential to provide evidence of language, literacy, religion and social structure among early-medieval communities.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is one of a number of prehistoric settlement sites, both domestic and funerary, on this flank of Millstone Hill, further enhancing the value of the monument. Although views to the wider setting of the cairn are currently obscured by mature trees, it occupies a prominent position in the landscape and would originally have a prominent landmark with wide views over the surrounding area. The presence of the cross and ogham-inscribed boulder adjacent to the cairn shows that the significance of place attached to the site continued into the medieval period, and suggests that the prehistoric cairn continued to serve as a reference point in the medieval landscape. Proximity to the parish boundary may not be a coincidence. Evidence for Pictish language and their use of literacy is very rare: only around 30 examples of ogham inscriptions are known in Pictland, the majority dating from the 7th to 9th centuries. The carved cross on the boulder bears resonance with later medieval boundary markers elsewhere in Aberdeenshire.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to an understanding of the past, in particular Bronze-Age burial architecture and practice, early-Christian monuments and their inter-relationship. The cairn retains the potential for the survival of archaeological evidence relating to its construction and use, as well as the environment in which it was created. The cross and ogham-incised boulder has the potential to further our understanding of language, literacy, religion and social structure among the Picts, and attests to the significance of place that medieval communities attached to this location. Occupying a prominent position, it would have been visible from a wide area of the prehistoric and medieval landscape in which people conducted their day-to-day activities. Its loss would affect our ability to understand the interactions that prehistoric and medieval societies had with this landscape and, by association, the rest of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the monument as NJ62SE23 and NJ62SE27; Aberdeenshire SMR as NJ62SE0021.

References:

RCAHMS [Draft], IN THE SHADOW OF BENNACHIE: THE FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY OF DONSIDE, ABERDEENSHIRE, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Staigner B and Greig M 1994, 'Sites found during tree-felling operations', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT, 27.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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