Ancient Monuments

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Lagganbeg, cairn 465m ENE of Kickshaws

A Scheduled Monument in Oban North and Lorn, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.3283 / 56°19'41"N

Longitude: -5.4553 / 5°27'19"W

OS Eastings: 186470

OS Northings: 720463

OS Grid: NM864204

Mapcode National: GBR DCXZ.V7X

Mapcode Global: WH0GZ.56HH

Entry Name: Lagganbeg, cairn 465m ENE of Kickshaws

Scheduled Date: 9 January 1979

Last Amended: 7 February 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4203

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Kilninver and Kilmelfort

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument is a prehistoric cairn of the Neolithic or Bronze Age, built probably between 4000 and 1000 BC. It is visible as a substantial, circular turf-covered mound of stones, approximately 14m in diameter and standing 2.1m high. The cairn is located on flat land on the floor of Glen Euchar, 70m above sea level. Its site offers excellent views to the E and W along the glen. The monument was first scheduled in 1979, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, measuring 35m in diameter centred on the cairn. The scheduling includes 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

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, particularly the design and construction of burial monuments, the nature of burial practices, and the significance of these monuments to prehistoric and later societies. The centre of this cairn appears intact suggesting high potential for buried deposits. Buried evidence from cairns can also enhance our knowledge about local communities, where they came from and who they had contact with. The loss of the monument would diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape and the meaning and importance of death and burial in prehistoric life.

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The excavation of similar cairns elsewhere in Scotland has demonstrated that they were often used to cover and mark human burials. They are normally late Neolithic or Bronze Age in origin, dating most commonly from the late third millennium BC to the early second millennium BC.

The cairn at Lagganbeg is a good example of this type of monument. Although a drainage ditch cuts the western edge of the cairn and there has been some stone robbing at the perimeter, the monument is in good overall condition and its centre survives intact, indicating that important archaeological information is highly likely to survive beneath its surface. The cairn may incorporate or overlie one or several graves or pits containing cist settings, skeletal remains in the form of cremations or inhumations, and artefacts including pottery and stone tools. These deposits can help us understand more about the practice and significance of burial and commemoration of the dead at specific times in prehistory. They may also help us to understand the changing structure of early society in the area. The cairn is likely to overlie and seal a buried land surface that could provide evidence of the immediate environment when the monument was constructed. Botanical remains, including pollen and charred plant material, may also survive within archaeological deposits deriving from the cairn's construction and use. This evidence can help us build up a picture of the climate, vegetation and the nature of agriculture in the area before and during construction and use of the cairn.

Contextual characteristics

Across Scotland, prehistoric burial cairns are often inter-visible and sometimes seem to be positioned specifically to maximise their visual impact. Two possible burial cairns lie a short distance up the valley from this cairn, 375m and 825m to the E. In addition, a fine burial cairn with a prominent kerb lies 3.25km to the W of this monument, at Barochreal, though the two are not inter-visible. The positioning of cairns on the valley floor resembles the placement of burial monuments near Loch Nell and Kilmartin. Argyll cairns are often components of a ritual landscape created over many centuries, and may indicate re-use and veneration of earlier foci. Cairns have additional importance as they are the most prominent remains of early societies, whose domestic houses, farms and field systems have proved difficult to identify in the archaeological record. The Lagganbeg cairn's position in relation to other prehistoric monuments in the valley merits further analysis, and could improve our understanding of ritual and funerary site location and practice and the structure of prehistoric society and economy.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the site as CANMORE 22958. The West of Scotland Archaeology Service SMR reference is 1148.


The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, 1975, Argyll: an inventory of the monuments, volume 2: Lorn, Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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