Ancient Monuments

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Carn Liath, cairn, Obsdale

A Scheduled Monument in Cromarty Firth, Highland

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Latitude: 57.6957 / 57°41'44"N

Longitude: -4.2394 / 4°14'21"W

OS Eastings: 266621

OS Northings: 869520

OS Grid: NH666695

Mapcode National: GBR H8XC.SZY

Mapcode Global: WH3D5.VTFT

Entry Name: Carn Liath, cairn, Obsdale

Scheduled Date: 18 March 1971

Last Amended: 22 February 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2970

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: chambered cairn

Location: Rosskeen

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Cromarty Firth

Traditional County: Ross-shire


The monument comprises the remains of a cairn, a burial monument likely to date to the late Neolithic or Bronze Age (late third to second millennium BC). It is visible as a low mound of stones, surrounded by a modern stone wall, now lying within an arable field at about 20m above sea level, close to the north shore of the Cromarty Firth.

The cairn is round and measures approximately 16m in diameter. The edge of the cairn has been obscured by the later stone dyke  that defines its edge. The cairn survives to a maximum height of 0.8m. Near the centre of the cairn is a substantial capstone covering a stone-lined cist. The stone measures 1.6m east-west by 1m transversely and is approximately 0.5m high.

The scheduled area is circular on plan, measuring 25m in diameter, centred on the monument. The scheduling 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. The monument was first scheduled in 1971, but the documentation does not meet current standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it is a late Neolithic or Bronze Age burial cairn with upstanding cairn material and has considerable potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of early prehistoric burial monuments and funerary practices. Ritual and funerary monuments such as this provide the main material evidence for late Neolithic or Bronze Age society in Scotland. This monument is particularly important as it contains a large central cist, and may contain further secondary burials. The cairn is expected to seal other archaeological features and deposits. Its lowland coastal location makes it particularly important when compared with other examples across this part of the Highlands. Our understanding of the distribution, nature and character of prehistoric burial monuments would be diminished if this monument was to be lost or damaged.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 13615.

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference: MHG8214.

Ordnance Survey Name Book. Object Name Books of the Ordnance Survey (6 inch and 1/2500 scale). Book No. 2: 89.

RCAHMS. 1979. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Easter Ross, Ross and Cromarty District, Highland Region, The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series no 6. Edinburgh: 11, No. 42.


HER/SMR Reference

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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