Ancient Monuments

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Blackyett, cairn 225m east of

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

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Latitude: 55.0287 / 55°1'43"N

Longitude: -3.1705 / 3°10'13"W

OS Eastings: 325278

OS Northings: 571084

OS Grid: NY252710

Mapcode National: GBR 6B99.D5

Mapcode Global: WH6Y2.8VHV

Entry Name: Blackyett, cairn 225m E of

Scheduled Date: 7 November 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11951

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Dornock

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises a mound likely to be a burial cairn dating to the Bronze Age. It survives as a substantial circular earthwork contained by a fenced deciduous plantation, where it is lightly grazed. The monument lies at approximately 80m above sea level on the S side of the Kirtle water, one of the E watercourses feeding the Solway Firth.

The cairn is approximately 35m in diameter and 5m high. It is apparently flattened at the top as a base for a modern building or structure that has now largely disappeared except for a low curved wall feature. Immediately to the south of the mound extends a group of linear earthen banks and ditches, probably the remains of 18th- or 19th-century agricultural improvement works over poorly drained ground.

The area to be scheduled is a clipped circle centred on the centre of the mound, to include the mound and an area around it within which related material may be expected to be found, as shown in red on the accompanying map. Specifically excluded from the scheduling is the top 300mm of a track running across the northern part of the scheduled area and all surrounding, later boundary features, to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

This substantial earthwork retains a significant proportion of its original shape and extent. It has good potential to reveal information about how communities living in SW Scotland during the Bronze Age built and used such sites, specifically (with the burial deposits that are likely to survive) how they treated their dead. The cairn will seal an earlier land surface and this can help us understand environmental conditions present at the time people built the mound.

Contextual characteristics

This monument belongs to a geographically widespread and diverse group of early prehistoric burial monuments found in the south-west of Scotland, where archaeologists know of over 300 examples. While they may share some similar characteristics in their construction, position or setting, they often reflect very different traditions when dealing with the dead, and superficial similarities in appearance may mask a range of different local practices.

There are local concentrations of these monuments that may not be part of a cemetery-type tradition, but nonetheless their position and inter-relationship in the landscape is still significant. They often display similar attributes in the landscape: their proximity to watercourses (such as the N-S flowing rivers feeding the northern Solway Firth), their proximity to broadly contemporary monuments (such as stone circles); and a broadly S-facing aspect across the Solway plain. The line of the Kirtle Water seems to have been an influencing factor in the position of several of these cairns, including this example.

Associative characteristics

The south-west of Scotland has benefited from a relatively long tradition of antiquarian interest, mapping and monument conservation. With particular emphasis on the so-called 'Druid's temples' and 'tumuli', prehistoric burials and ceremonial monuments such as this cairn were afforded protection from an early stage. The first edition OS map depicts this site.

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 the nature of death and burial during the Bronze Age in SW Scotland. It can reveal information about monument construction, funerary practice and the material culture of the communities who buried their dead in these cairns. This monument plays an important part in a much broader understanding about the lives of Bronze-Age people in SW Scotland and the influences upon them locally, across the Solway Firth and perhaps the Irish Sea. It is an integral component of the Bronze-Age landscape, significant because of its association with ritual monuments (such as stone circles and standing stones) and by its proximity to areas of contemporary agriculture and settlement, connecting those who settled and worked here with their dead. The loss of the monument would affect our future ability to appreciate and understand the prehistoric landscape and its inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record this site as NY27SE 10.


Mercer R 1997, ?Kirkpatrick Fleming Dumfriesshire. An Anatomy of a Parish in South West Scotland? Dumfries: Dumfriesshire Galloway Natur Hist Antiq Soc.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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