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Auchnaha, standing stone and long cairn 290m south east of

A Scheduled Monument in Cowal, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 55.9837 / 55°59'1"N

Longitude: -5.315 / 5°18'54"W

OS Eastings: 193296

OS Northings: 681706

OS Grid: NR932817

Mapcode National: GBR FD8W.S7M

Mapcode Global: WH1KQ.BV8Q

Entry Name: Auchnaha, standing stone and long cairn 290m SE of

Scheduled Date: 20 November 1935

Last Amended: 2 March 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM172

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: chambered cairn

Location: Kilfinan

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Cowal

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument is the remains of a chambered cairn dating from the Neolithic period (between 3800 and 2500 BC).  It is visible as a group of upstanding stones surrounded by a slight bank that probably indicates the original extent of the cairn. Four large stones clearly form one polygonal burial chamber to the south and further stones to the north suggest a second chamber. The remains lie 245m above sea level on a prominent knoll that stands on the broad ridge separating Strathpeffer to the south and Strath Sgitheach to the north.

The monument is a chambered long cairn of a type known as a Clyde cairn. The four largest upstanding stones form a polygonal chamber oriented east-west. The chamber measures 3m long and was probably a similar width. The individual stones range from 0.8m to 1.5m in height, the tallest being to the northwest and having a pointed top. The entrance probably lies to the east, where three pairs of low, transverse slabs recorded in the past suggest a short passage and outer chamber. Two substantial stone slabs about 2m northwest of the first chamber suggest a second chamber built on a parallel axis, sited closer to the summit of the knoll. The subtle remains of a low bank or scarp surrounding the knoll suggest the original cairn measured about 23m in diameter.

The scheduled area is circular on plan, measuring 40m in diameter, centred on the pointed northwest stone of the south chamber, 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. The monument was first scheduled in 1964, but the documentation did not meet current standards: the present amendment rectifies this.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it has the potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular the dating, construction and use of monumental burial structures, the nature of funerary practices, and the significance of chambered cairns in prehistoric society. Chambered cairns provide the primary material evidence for the Neolithic in this part of Scotland. This example provides evidence of adaption and re-use over what was probably a considerable period of time, adding to its significance. There is also high potential for the survival of significant buried archaeological evidence, including human remains, artefacts and palaeoenvironmental evidence, which can enhance our knowledge of 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 ability to appreciate and understand how death and burial was conceptualised in Neolithic Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Other Information

Historic Environment Scotland reference numbers CANMORE ID 4000 & 4005 (accessed on 6/2/14).

The West of Scotland Archaeological Service HER record the monument as WOSAS PIN 4590.


Childe, V G, 1932, 'Chambered cairns near Kilfinan, Argyll', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 66, 416-18.

Fisher, I, 2001, Early Medieval sculpture in the West Highlands and Islands, RCAHMS/Soc Ant Scot Monograph series 1, Edinburgh.

Henshall, A S, 1972, The chambered tombs of Scotland, vol 2, 327-8, Edinburgh.

Knight, G A F, 1937, 'Antiquities in the neighbourhood of Otter Ferry, Loch Fyne', Trans Glasgow Arch Soc 9, 1.

Moir, G, 1981, 'Some archaeological and astronomical objections to scientific astronomy in British prehistory', in Ruggles, C L N and Whittle, A W R, Astronomy and society in Britain during the period 4000-1500 BC, Brit Arch Rep (BAR) British ser, vol 88, Oxford.

New Statistical Account 1834-1845, The new statistical account of Scotland by the ministers of the respective parishes under the superintendence of a committee of the society for the benefit of the sons and daughters of the clergy, vol 7, Edinburgh.

Old Statistical Account 1791-9, The statistical account of Scotland, drawn up from the communications of the ministers of the different parishes, vol 14, Edinburgh.

RCAHMS, 1988, Argyll: an inventory of the monuments, vol 6: Mid-Argyll and Cowal, prehistoric and early historic monuments, Edinburgh.

Scott, J G, 1969, 'Inventory of Clyde cairns', in Powell, T G E et al, Megalithic enquiries in the west of Britain, Appendix C, Liverpool.

Thom, A, 1967, Megalithic sites in Britain, Oxford.


HER/SMR Reference


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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