Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Old Kinnernie, cairn 140m north of St Mary's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Westhill and District, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.1775 / 57°10'38"N

Longitude: -2.4563 / 2°27'22"W

OS Eastings: 372513

OS Northings: 809721

OS Grid: NJ725097

Mapcode National: GBR X5.9N4R

Mapcode Global: WH8P7.7VLJ

Entry Name: Old Kinnernie, cairn 140m N of St Mary's Church

Scheduled Date: 25 March 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12121

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Midmar

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Westhill and District

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a Neolithic or Bronze-Age burial cairn. It lies in a low-lying field of pasture in the southern part of Strathdon, at a height of around 115m above sea level.

The cairn survives as a stony, turf-covered mound, measuring around 14m in diameter and standing to a height of around 1.5m. The prehistoric shape of the cairn is quite difficult to establish due to what appears to be grass-grown field clearance on the NE side, giving the monument an elongated appearance, and stone removal and soil poaching has damaged the cairn's edge.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the top of the mound, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to the mound's 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 visible as an upstanding feature; the presence of later field clearance suggests it has been out of cultivation for some time. While stone removal damaged the edges of the cairn, the centre appears undisturbed. This suggests a high potential for the survival of primary burials beneath the cairn. The mound is likely to seal a buried land surface and this could provide evidence of the environment during the Neolithic or Bronze Age when the monument was constructed and used. The monument has the potential to further our understanding of Neolithic or Bronze-Age funerary practices, as well as inform our knowledge of the structural features of this type of cairn.

Contextual characteristics

This monument belongs to a diverse group of around 165 surviving Neolithic or Bronze-Age burial cairns in the Strathdon area. Of these, about half survive as upstanding monuments. This particular example has a very unusual location, as cairns are rarely found on low-lying ground. This presents an excellent opportunity to ascertain more about such monuments being placed in an uncharacteristic setting. Spatial analysis of this cairn and other burial sites may further our understanding of funerary site location, the structure of society and the Neolithic or Bronze-Age economy.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to an understanding of the past, in particular Neolithic and Bronze-Age burial architecture and practice. It also fits into a distinctive pattern of prehistoric burial and settlement in the Strathdon area. Skeletal remains and artefacts from such burials have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contact with. The old ground surfaces sealed by the monument can provide information about what the contemporary environment looked like and how the prehistoric peoples who interred their dead here managed the surrounding landscape. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape, as well as our knowledge of Neolithic and Bronze-Age social structure and economy.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NJ70NW 164; Aberdeenshire Council SMR as NJ70NW0136.


Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, [Draft], In the Shadow of Bennachie: The Field Archaeology of Donside, Aberdeenshire, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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