Ancient Monuments

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Shiells, settlements 665m north west of

A Scheduled Monument in Howe of Fife and Tay Coast, Fife

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Latitude: 56.2718 / 56°16'18"N

Longitude: -3.1664 / 3°9'59"W

OS Eastings: 327862

OS Northings: 709419

OS Grid: NO278094

Mapcode National: GBR 29.8W0B

Mapcode Global: WH6R2.BMFC

Entry Name: Shiells, settlements 665m NW of

Scheduled Date: 30 May 1997

Last Amended: 13 December 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6749

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse; Secular: hall

Location: Collessie

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Howe of Fife and Tay Coast

Traditional County: Fife


The monument comprises the buried remains of two circular buildings and two rectangular structures in close proximity, and associated archaeological remains, all visible as cropmarks captured on oblique aerial photographs. The two circular buildings are interpreted as prehistoric roundhouses dating to the Iron Age (sometime between around 500 BC and AD 200), while the rectangular structures are believed to be slightly later, dating to the early historic period (around AD 300-900).

The roundhouses lie some 125m apart and are both approximately 14m in overall diameter. They both appear to have an entrance in the SW where there is a break in each of the circuits. Features visible in the interior of the SW of the two houses may be the remains of occupation or internal structures. The rectangular buildings are hall-like structures and lie some 115m apart, on exactly the same ENE-WSW alignment; they appear to be closely associated. The northernmost is visible in its entirety and may be the best preserved of the two. It measures around 30m ENE-WSW by 9m transversely and appears to have entrances in both of its long walls. Its southern neighbour is around the same width, but only 19m of its eastern half is visible on aerial photographs, with at least one entrance in its long walls. The structures lie within an area of rig oriented roughly NE-SW and a scattering of miscellaneous features can be seen around the buildings. The monument is located on relatively flat and low-lying arable land on the N bank of the River Eden, at 40m above sea level. The monument was first scheduled in 1997, but the documentation did not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The scheduling comprises three separate areas. The first is circular and measures 40m in diameter, to include the roundhouse furthest to the N; the second is rectangular, measuring 60m by 38m, to include the complete hall-like structure; and the third is an irregular polygon, to include the second roundhouse and the remains of the second hall-like structure, which are less than 10m apart. The scheduled area includes the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular, the nature of domestic and agricultural settlement and activity in prehistory and during the first millennia AD, and the ways in which these changed from the Iron Age to the early historic period. The structural footprints of the circular and rectangular buildings survive relatively well as buried features, as evidenced by the aerial photographs. These can enhance our understanding of the design and construction of two, very different different types of building, their functions and duration of use. Our understanding of the distribution, character and significance of these types of settlement in lowland eastern Scotland would be diminished if this monument was to be lost or damaged.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NO20NE 77 and NO20NE 23. The cropmarks have been captured on aerial photographs on at least five occasions between 1979 and 2000.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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