Ancient Monuments

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Meams, cairns 540m west of & 480m WNW of Balnagarrow

A Scheduled Monument in Kirriemuir and Dean, Angus

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Latitude: 56.7048 / 56°42'17"N

Longitude: -3.0236 / 3°1'25"W

OS Eastings: 337422

OS Northings: 757480

OS Grid: NO374574

Mapcode National: GBR VH.YPM4

Mapcode Global: WH7Q4.JQDW

Entry Name: Meams, cairns 540m W of & 480m WNW of Balnagarrow

Scheduled Date: 28 March 1988

Last Amended: 28 July 2015

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4472

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Kirriemuir

County: Angus

Electoral Ward: Kirriemuir and Dean

Traditional County: Angus


The monument is the remains of two cairns of different forms dating probably to the Bronze Age (between about 2500 BC and 800 BC). They lie around 140m apart in relatively elevated positions in the landscape, towards the E end of a broad ridge of high ground. The NNE cairn is 240m above sea level and the SSW cairn 230m above sea level.

The cairn to the NNE cairn has been categorised as a flat cairn, and the other as a ring cairn. The NNE cairn lies on a slight knoll. It measures about 17m in diameter and stands 0.5m in height. Prominent large boulders on the E side appear to form part of a rough kerb. The cairn to the SSW lies on a saddle to the NE of Meams Hill. It measures 10m in diameter and stands 0.3m-0.4m in height. It has two concentric kerbs. The outer kerb is visible as around 18 earthfast boulders, the largest of which is about 0.7m high and stands to the SW, close to a recumbent block about 1.2m long. The inner kerb is best defined on the NE side and defines a central space about 5m in diameter.

There are two scheduled areas, both circular on plan. One is 38m in diameter, centred on the middle of the NNE cairn; the second is 30m in diameter, centred on the middle of the SSW cairn. The scheduled areas include the remains described above and areas 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. The monument was first scheduled in 1988, but the documentation did not meet modern standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to knowledge and understanding of the past, particularly prehistoric ceremonial and funerary practices and the design and construction of ceremonial and burial monuments. Such monuments are an important source of evidence for human activity during the Bronze Age in Scotland, and can enhance our understanding of Bronze Age society, its organisation, economy, religion and demography. Despite disturbance in the past, these cairns survive to a significant degree, allowing us to interpret their original form. They also retain high potential for buried archaeological remains including burials, artefacts and palaeoenvironmental evidence. The ring cairn to the SSW is a well-preserved example of a type rare in mid-eastern Scotland. It is of particular interest because of the grading of its kerb, with the largest stones to the SW, a feature shared with the recumbent stone circles of NE Scotland. These cairns are rare survivors of types probably once common in eastern Scotland and their loss would diminish our ability to appreciate and understand prehistoric funerary practice.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Other Information

RCAHMS records the monument as NO35NE 24 and 42. The Angus Sites and Monuments Record references are NO35NE0024 and NO35NE0042.


Laird, G C F, 1967 'Meams Farm, Kirriemuir; circular enclosure', Discovery Excav Scot, 5.

RCAHMS 1983, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Central Angus, Angus District, Tayside Region, The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series, 18, Edinburgh, 14, no 96.

Sheriff, J R, and Macknight, O, 1985 'Meams Farm; cairn, deserted settlement', Discovery Excav Scot, 58.


HER/SMR Reference

Angus SMR NO35NE0042

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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