Ancient Monuments

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Soilsean, deserted township and hut circle 745m ESE of

A Scheduled Monument in Inverness South, Highland

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Latitude: 57.3255 / 57°19'31"N

Longitude: -3.9697 / 3°58'10"W

OS Eastings: 281496

OS Northings: 827817

OS Grid: NH814278

Mapcode National: GBR J9KC.BBB

Mapcode Global: WH4HC.Z4TK

Entry Name: Soilsean, deserted township and hut circle 745m ESE of

Scheduled Date: 7 November 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11806

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse; Secular: settlement, including deserted,

Location: Moy and Dalarossie

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Inverness South

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


This monument comprises the remains of a late prehistoric hut circle and Sheanevall, a deserted rural township of post-medieval date, surviving as a series of upstanding rectangular and sub-rectangular building plots and stone courses, earthen banks, dykes, corn-drying kiln and a single hut circle. The monument lies at approximately 380 above sea level in open and rough pasture on the E side of Strathdearn and the river Findhorn.

Seven unroofed buildings are depicted and named on the Ordnance Survey First Edition map, all of which survive today as upstanding remains. These remains survive up to four or five stone courses high. The structures of the township include five buildings oriented N-S and measuring 10m and 25m long by approximately 5m wide, a sixth rectangular building adjoining one of these and measuring approximately 12m by 5m oriented E-W, and a seventh building appearing as a corn-drying kiln measuring approximately 5m by 5m. Likely to be associated with the township in the area immediately to the W and N are the remains of enclosures and agricultural boundaries, surviving as low stone walls. Immediately to the N of the township is a late prehistoric hut circle measuring approximately 10m in diameter and surviving to a height of 1m. There is a break in the structure of the hut circle in its southern arc, likely to be the entrance. Lastly, there is a linear, earthen bank feature running across the contours and overlain by a later stone wall that may be associated with the hut circle.

The area proposed for scheduling is irregular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. Specifically excluded from the schedule area is the fenced bird pen fence located to the NW of the site.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument is a well-preserved example of a hut circle and highland rural township with upstanding remains dating from the Late Bronze Age/ Iron Age and post-Medieval periods. The hut circle has survived well with evidence of its circular rough stone construction and entrance intact, alongside a curious earthen bank, overlain by a later stone wall. The individual buildings and enclosure walls that define the later township retain their basic architectural detail, in places up to several courses high and despite stone robbing. The site has considerable potential to enhance our understanding of settlement and small-scale rural economy during later prehistory. It also represents the agricultural economy of highland Scotland during more recent times.

Contextual characteristics: As a well preserved example of an upland rural settlement and single hut circle, this monument reflects landuse and settlement over an extensive time-frame, dating back to the Late Bronze Age / Iron Age. The comparison of this example to others in Strathdearn and the wider landscape of the highlands will help to create a fuller picture of the region's character during later prehistory and in more recent times, such as the periods of agricultural improvement or widespread clearance.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it is well preserved and has inherent potential to add to our understanding, not only of settlement and upland economy in later prehistoric and post-medieval times, but also how monuments like these from different periods inter-relate. The loss of this example would impede any future ability to understand this time-depth and sequence of landuse and the intrinsic nature of the settlement, its structures and the people who lived here.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NH82NW 37. It is recorded in the Highland Regional Council SMR as NH52NW0059.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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