Ancient Monuments

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Calvertsholm Cottages, cairn 320m NNW of

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

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Latitude: 55.0127 / 55°0'45"N

Longitude: -3.1264 / 3°7'35"W

OS Eastings: 328063

OS Northings: 569264

OS Grid: NY280692

Mapcode National: GBR 6BLG.YW

Mapcode Global: WH6Y8.Y8DJ

Entry Name: Calvertsholm Cottages, cairn 320m NNW of

Scheduled Date: 7 November 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11950

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Kirkpatrick-Fleming

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises a burial cairn likely to date to the Early Bronze Age, now visible as a low turf- and grass-covered circular stone mound. It lies within a large cultivated field (currently under grass) on the N side of the Solway Firth at approximately 20m above sea level.

The cairn is approximately 11m in diameter and survives as a rectangular unploughed island. Cairns are one of several types of monument that prehistoric people built as places for their dead throughout the second millennium BC. Partial excavation of this cairn in 1908 revealed the remains of an adult and child within a stone-lined grave (cist). Elements of the cairn structure, including a possible outer kerb, are partly visible. The cairn forms part of a larger group of similar burial sites in the immediate area.

The area to be scheduled is circular 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 cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic character

The monument retains the majority of the key field characteristics for its class, which are: central burial deposits (despite being disturbed during antiquarian fieldwork); cist settings; stone mounding; and a stone and earthen mound. The monument has good potential to reveal information about communities living in SW Scotland during the Bronze Age, how they built and used these sites. The cairn's structure, layout and the detail of its burials can all help our understanding of the episodes of burial here, the ways in which people dealt with their dead in the past, and the social meaning that attached to this. Underneath the cairn there is an earlier land surface and this can give us information about the environmental conditions at the time the cairn was built.

Contextual characteristics

This is one of a group of a related monuments and can therefore help us understand the wider setting of Bronze-Age community life here and its links to other surrounding communities. The 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.

The cairn is part of a local cluster of burial monuments that are likely to be similar in date, and so their physical inter-relationship is significant. Such cairns 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 'Druid's temples' and 'tumuli', as they were called, prehistoric burials and ceremonial monuments such as this cairn were afforded protection from an early stage.

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 has the potential to reveal information about monument construction, funerary practice and the material culture of the societies who buried their dead in such cairns, as well as the environment in which they lived. 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 even the Irish Sea. The cairn 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 the site as NY26 NE 2.

Aerial Photographs:

RCAHMS 1984, A22580, Calvertsholm.


Bate D M A 1909, ?Notice of the excavation of a cairn, on the Kirtle water, Dumfriesshire? PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 43, 165-9.



Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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