Ancient Monuments

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Creag Evanachan, cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Argyll, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.041 / 56°2'27"N

Longitude: -5.2874 / 5°17'14"W

OS Eastings: 195325

OS Northings: 688000

OS Grid: NR953880

Mapcode National: GBR FDBR.6VX

Mapcode Global: WH1KJ.RFD7

Entry Name: Creag Evanachan, cairn

Scheduled Date: 13 August 1974

Last Amended: 16 January 2017

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3408

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Strathlachlan

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Mid Argyll

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument is a cairn dating to the Bronze Age (between about 2000 BC and 800 BC). It visible as a circular mound of stones measuring approximately 20m in diameter and standing up to 2m high. The monument is situated close to the summit of Creag Evanachan at 195m above sea level.

The scheduled area is circular on plan measuring 40m in diameter to include 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

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance has been asssessed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics

Although a depression at the centre of the cairn indicates a collapse or undocumented disturbance, the cairn is well-preserved standing up to two metres in height. The cairn may have been disturbed in the past but this appears limited and there is high potential for the survival of important archaeological information within, beneath and around the cairn, including one or more graves or cist settings and human skeletal remains in the form of cremations or inhumations. There is also potential for the survival of associated artefacts or grave goods such as tools, jewellery or pottery. This monument therefore has the potential to improve our understanding of burial practice and religious beliefs, the construction and use of burial monuments, and contemporary society and the environment.

Cairns such as this are typically Bronze Age in origin, dating most commonly to between about 2000 BC and 800 BC, though it is possible that the site has earlier origins as a place of ritual or burial. The cairn may have been used for multiple burials, over an extended period of time, and it is likely to have been an important place of commemoration for many generations. Excavations of this type of monument have demonstrated that they were often used to cover and mark human burials, for example Dunchragaig Cairn (scheduled monument reference SM90111, Canmore ID 39455).

Contextual Characteristics

There are around 70 recorded examples of burial cairns of this type in Cowal and mid-Argyll. Such burial monuments vary in form, location and size, and this example can be studied in comparison with others to enhance our knowledge of the burial traditions and beliefs associated with these monuments and the reasons behind their design and form. This example is a notably large and well-preserved example. It is also a relatively isolated example; the closest recorded broadly contemporary burial monument is Strone Cairn (scheduled monument reference SM 3550, Canmore ID 39970), 5km to the south.

Cairns are often placed in conspicuous locations within the landscape, at the edge of arable land and overlook or are intervisible with other ritual monuments. This example is particularly notable for its prominent positioning on the summit of a steep hill and its uninterrupted views over Loch Fyne.

Associative Characteristics

There are no known associative characteristics which significantly contribute to the site's cultural significance.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it makes a contribution to the understanding of the design and construction of burial monuments, and the nature of belief and burial practices during the Bronze Age. Ritual and funerary monuments are often our main source of evidence for human activity during the Bronze Age in Scotland. They are particularly important for enhancing our understanding of Bronze Age society, its organisation, economy, religion and demography. This cairn has well-preserved field characteristics allowing us to interpret its original form and position in the landscape. It also retains high potential for buried archaeological remains including burials, artefacts and palaeoenvironmental evidence. The loss of the monument would diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand funerary practice, death and burial in prehistoric times, and the placing of such monuments within the landscape in this part of Scotland.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 39934 (accessed on 1/11/2016).

West of Scotland Archaeology Service Historic Environment Record reference: WoSAS PIN 4519 (accessed on 1/11/2016).

Cowal Gazetteer (1967), Gazetteer of archaeological sites in Cowal: compiled by the Cowal Archaeological Society.

RCAHMS (1988), The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the monuments Vol 6: Mid-Argyll and Cowal, prehistoric and early historic monuments. Edinburgh.

Knight, G A F (1937), 'Antiquities in the neighbourhood of Otter Ferry, Loch Fyne', Trans Glasgow Archaeological Society, Vol 9, Part1, 1937, pp.7-25.


HER/SMR Reference

WoSAS PIN 4519

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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