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Lurg Moor, hut circle 1180m south west of Knocknairshill

A Scheduled Monument in Inverclyde Central, Inverclyde

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9242 / 55°55'27"N

Longitude: -4.7253 / 4°43'30"W

OS Eastings: 229815

OS Northings: 673484

OS Grid: NS298734

Mapcode National: GBR 0F.ZLG7

Mapcode Global: WH2MJ.DC37

Entry Name: Lurg Moor, hut circle 1180m SW of Knocknairshill

Scheduled Date: 1 March 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12800

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse

Location: Greenock

County: Inverclyde

Electoral Ward: Inverclyde Central

Traditional County: Renfrewshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a hut circle, possibly of late Bronze Age or Iron Age date (late second or first millennium BC). It is visible as a roughly circular structure of turf and stones and is situated about 1170m northeast of Knocknairshill.

The hut circle measures around 8m in diameter within a spread wall of about 1m thickness and stands some 0.5m high. As is typical for hut circles of this period, the clearly defined entrance faces the south east. Within the interior, a small but prominent mound may relate to a hearth. Situated in moorland, the hut circle is waterlogged and overgrown with grass and patches of heather.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises a circular area, centred on the hut circle, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment 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 consists of a well-preserved later prehistoric hut circle dating to the late second or first millennium BC. Relatively few hut circles are known in the Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire areas and this example is among the best examples of its type. Like many late Bronze Age or Iron Age hut circles, this site has an east-facing entrance, probably to maximise daylight and shelter from the prevailing wind, although the location of the entrance may also reflect contemporary religious or spiritual beliefs.

Unenclosed hut circles usually occur in clusters and this is no exception, with at least two more examples close by. There is excellent potential for further hut circles to be identified in the area, as well as associated field systems. Its proximity to a Roman fortlet increases the significance of this hut circle as there is the potential to explore whether the Roman occupation had an impact on native inhabitants.

Given the site's waterlogged location, it is highly likely that archaeologically significant deposits relating to the hut circle's construction, occupation and abandonment survive in situ. Additionally, there is excellent potential for organic remains relating to its occupation to survive within and around the structure, as well as deposits likely to provide data relating to the later prehistoric environment. The site offers excellent potential to contribute to our understanding of later prehistoric roundhouses and the daily lives of the people who built and occupied them.

Contextual characteristics

Like most hut circles with upstanding remains, this example survives because of its upland location. Peat formation on Lurg Moor has meant that the area could not be cultivated or developed more recently and it appears only to have been used for grazing. However, at the time the hut circles were built and occupied, the area was probably capable of sustaining some arable cultivation. The landscape of Lurg Moor, an area exposed to minimal development and limited grazing, offers excellent potential to improve our understanding of the relationship between the agricultural/domestic and the ritual/funerary practices of the period, although the area has yet to be subjected to systematic archaeological field survey.

A hut circle like this probably housed an extended family who may have grown crops nearby, as well as keeping a number of animals such as cattle and sheep. It is thought that the organisation of a hut circle's internal space probably followed a specific layout, with defined places for cooking, sleeping and craft activities. Excavation of Bronze Age and Iron Age roundhouses at Cladh Hallan on South Uist clearly showed that the inhabitants used certain areas of the house for specific activities. Within this group of three hut circles, one building may not have been a dwelling as it lacked a hearth, which was normally the central focus of domestic dwellings.

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 later prehistoric society and domestic practice. The good level of preservation, the lack of recent cultivation and the survival of marked field characteristics enhances this potential. The loss of this monument would significantly impede our ability to understand the later prehistoric period in this part of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the monument as NS27SE 12 7; West of Scotland Archaeological Service SMR as NS27SE 5909 (copies of their short reports are appended).

References

Newall F, 1963, 'Lurg Moor', Discovery and Excavation Scotland 1963, 45

Newall F, 1976, 'The Roman signal fortlet at Outerwards, Ayrshire', Glasgow Archaeological Journal, vol 4, 111-23

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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