Ancient Monuments

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Glenreasdell Mains, chambered cairn 200m south east of

A Scheduled Monument in Kintyre and the Islands, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 55.7704 / 55°46'13"N

Longitude: -5.4053 / 5°24'19"W

OS Eastings: 186497

OS Northings: 658253

OS Grid: NR864582

Mapcode National: GBR FF1G.DTG

Mapcode Global: WH0KP.Y766

Entry Name: Glenreasdell Mains, chambered cairn 200m SE of

Scheduled Date: 6 July 1973

Last Amended: 7 February 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3281

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: chambered cairn

Location: Saddell and Skipness

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Kintyre and the Islands

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument comprises a chambered cairn of Neolithic date, dating probably from the third millennium BC. It survives as a grass-grown mound of earth and stones measuring 20m by 19m and standing to a maximum height of 1.2m on the SW side and 0.5m on the NE. Its shape is irregular today, but it is likely originally to have been trapezoidal or oblong. Two roofless burial chambers constructed of large stone slabs are visible near the centre of the cairn. The cairn stands at 45m above sea level on a slight knoll within a cultivated field. The monument was first scheduled in 1973, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is circular in plan, measuring 40m 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

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic Characteristics

Stone robbing and ploughing in the past has reduced the size of the cairn, but it is currently in a stable condition. The monument retains important structural elements, particularly towards the centre of the mound where significant cairn material survives, indicating good potential for the survival of archaeological deposits. A number of other large earth-fast boulders are visible and indicate the possible presence of a kerb and the remains of a third burial chamber.

The monument retains high potential to contribute to our understanding of the construction, form and development sequence of chambered cairns in Argyll and further afield. Chambered cairns are Neolithic in origin, dating most commonly from the third and fourth millennia BC. Excavation elsewhere suggests that they were used over a lengthy period and housed the remains of multiple individuals. Cairns like this were often adapted over time and could form a focus for burial in later periods. Buried deposits associated with cairns can help us to understand more about the practice and significance of burial and commemorating the dead at specific periods in prehistory. They may also help us to understand the changing structure of society in the area. In addition, the cairn is likely to overlie and seal a buried ground surface that could provide evidence of the immediate environment when the monument was built. Botanical remains, including pollen or charred plant material, may survive within archaeological deposits deriving from the cairn's construction and use. This evidence can help us to build up a picture of climate, vegetation and agriculture in the area before and during construction and use of the cairn.

Contextual characteristics

The setting of this chambered cairn is of particular interest: it is located on a knoll within a fertile valley and has extensive views across the valley to the N, W and E. The valley is rich in prehistoric monuments, notably cup-marked stones and cists, likely to be Bronze Age in date. The cairn clearly has a significant position within a ritual and funerary landscape which continued in use into the Bronze Age and possibly later. The position of the cairn in relation to other prehistoric monuments in the surrounding landscape merits future analysis. The cairn has the potential to further our understanding of funerary site location, ritual practice and the structure and beliefs of early prehistoric society.

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 their significance in prehistoric and later society. Chambered cairns provide the chief material evidence for the Neolithic period in this part of Scotland. Buried evidence from chambered cairns can enhance our knowledge about wider prehistoric society and economy, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contact with. The loss of the monument would significantly 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 times.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the site as NR85NE 4. The West of Scotland Archaeology Service SMR reference is 3891.


Graham, A 1919 'A survey of the ancient monuments of Skipness', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 53, 99-100.

Henshall, A S 1972 The chambered tombs of Scotland, vol 2, 342-3. Edinburgh.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland 1971 Argyll: an inventory of the monuments, vol 1: Kintyre, 34-35. Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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