Ancient Monuments

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Turnal Rock, hut circle complex 250m north west of Langwell Tulloch broch.

A Scheduled Monument in Wick and East Caithness, Highland

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Latitude: 58.1824 / 58°10'56"N

Longitude: -3.5385 / 3°32'18"W

OS Eastings: 309624

OS Northings: 922540

OS Grid: ND096225

Mapcode National: GBR K7M3.9T9

Mapcode Global: WH5DG.ML6N

Entry Name: Turnal Rock, hut circle complex 250m NW of Langwell Tulloch broch.

Scheduled Date: 28 October 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13631

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse

Location: Latheron/Latheron

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wick and East Caithness

Traditional County: Caithness


The monument comprises a complex of three conjoined roundhouses or hut circles, likely to date to the Iron Age (between 500 BC and AD 500). The monument is located approximately 90m above sea level on rising ground on a southeast facing slope above Langwell Water.

The hut circles form a roughly trefoil grouping; the smallest positioned at the north with one to the northeast and another to the south. Each structure is roughly circular and survives as low stone and turf walls up to 3m wide and 1.25m high. The hut circles measure between 10.5m and 15.5m in diameter. Each hut circle has an entrance approximately 1m wide facing into a small enclosed yard. The yard is to the southeast of the hut circles and is defined by a low stone wall, measuring 4m in length and running between the south and northeast circles, with a break for an entrance. The hut circle to the northeast contains a substantial mound of stones in the centre measuring up to 3.5m in diameter and 1m high. A low wall runs southeast from the northeast hut circle and terminates at a sub-rectangular enclosure measuring 6m by 4.5m. This low wall may be contemporary with the hut circles and the enclosure is possibly of later date. Abutting and possibly cutting the northeast hut circle, on the east side, is a sub-oval enclosure, perhaps of a later date.

The scheduled area is rectangular in shape and 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 as an example of a well-preserved prehistoric settlements. It has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular the design, construction and use of hut circles in northern Scotland and the Caithness region. There is high potential for well-preserved archaeological remains to survive within and immediately outside the buildings. Unusually for this type of monument, the three hut circles are conjoined with a related connecting yard forming a rare and interesting complex. Its value is enhanced as one of a group of monuments in a remote upland landscape with possibly contemporary defended sites in close proximity. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand late prehistoric domestic buildings in Scotland and the relationship between other sites such as single houses and brochs in the Iron Age.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 7528.

Highland Council HER reference MHG9852.

Fairhurst, H and Taylor, D (1970), A hut circle settlement at Kilphedir, Sutherland , Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 103, 65-103.


HER/SMR Reference

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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