Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Ring Hillock, cairn 280m south of Breezy Brae

A Scheduled Monument in Thurso and Northwest Caithness, Highland

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Latitude: 58.5743 / 58°34'27"N

Longitude: -3.3788 / 3°22'43"W

OS Eastings: 319910

OS Northings: 965961

OS Grid: ND199659

Mapcode National: GBR L602.4ZK

Mapcode Global: WH6CR.2RB8

Entry Name: Ring Hillock, cairn 280m S of Breezy Brae

Scheduled Date: 25 May 1938

Last Amended: 22 February 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM474

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Olrig

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Thurso and Northwest Caithness

Traditional County: Caithness


The monument is the remains of a grass-covered cairn probably dating to the Bronze Age (between about 2500 BC and 800 BC). It is conical in shape and measures about 15m in diameter and 1.5m high. Occasional cairn stones protrude through the turf. The cairn is positioned on a low rise about 65m above sea level, and there are relatively long views in all directions, including northwards to Dunnet Bay.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan to include the remains described above and an area around in which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. To the east, the scheduling extends up to but excludes a stone dyke. The monument was first scheduled in 1938; the present amendment provides documents to current standards.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument can make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past, particularly the design and construction of burial monuments and the nature of belief systems and burial practices during the Bronze Age. Ritual and funerary monuments are a major source of evidence for human activity during the Bronze Age in Scotland and are particularly important for enhancing our understanding of Bronze Age society, its organisation, economy, religion and demography. This mound retains good field characteristics and appears little disturbed, allowing us to interpret its original form and function. It retains high potential for buried archaeological remains including burials, artefacts and palaeoenvironmental evidence. Burial monuments such as this are rare surviving  components of what would have been a wider prehistoric landscape of land-use, settlement and ritual. This example is particularly interesting as it has a relatively open aspect within the landscape, with views to several other cairns. The loss of the monument would diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand funerary practice and approaches to death and burial in prehistoric times, and the placing of such monuments within the landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 8422.

The Highland Council Historic Environment Record reference is MHG1398.


HER/SMR Reference

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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