Ancient Monuments

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Mulchaich, chambered cairn 80m north east of Auchencairn

A Scheduled Monument in Black Isle, Highland

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Latitude: 57.5788 / 57°34'43"N

Longitude: -4.382 / 4°22'55"W

OS Eastings: 257663

OS Northings: 856800

OS Grid: NH576568

Mapcode National: GBR H8KP.FJB

Mapcode Global: WH3DP.NRJX

Entry Name: Mulchaich, chambered cairn 80m NE of Auchencairn

Scheduled Date: 30 December 1971

Last Amended: 15 June 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3145

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: chambered cairn

Location: Urquhart and Logie Wester

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Black Isle

Traditional County: Ross-shire


The monument is a chambered cairn dating from the late Neolithic period to the early Bronze Age (between 3800 and 2500 BC). The cairn is visible as a mound with exposed kerbs and is located on a grassy knoll overlooking the Cromarty Firth. It lies around 75m above sea level.

The cairn consists of two kerbs; the outer kerb, marking the edge of the cairn, is sub-circular on plan and measures 50m northwest to southeast and 40m transversely. It follows the base of the knoll and consists of small boulders measuring 0.3m-0.5m in height. The inner kerb, centred on the cairn, is roughly circular and measures 17m in diameter. Surrounding the top of the knoll, the inner kerb is formed by larger boulders each measuring around 0.5m in height. On the south southwest edge of the inner kerb, one of the kerb stones is cup-marked with 15 cups. In the centre of the cairn, two large exposed stones may be uprights of a central chamber. A large flat slab within the inner kerb area could be the capstone, or formed part of the roof, of the chamber. The monument is located on a locally prominent rise of ground on a gradual northwest facing slope which runs to the coast and estuary some 1.5km northwest.

The scheduled area is sub-circular on plan 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. The post and wire fence to the east of the monument is excluded from the scheduling. The monument was first scheduled in 1971, 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 of its potential to make a significant addition to our knowledge and understanding of the past, particularly the design and construction of burial monuments, and the nature of belief systems and burial practices during the late Neolithic period and early Bronze Age in northern Scotland. The cairn has good field characteristics, allowing us to interpret its form, function and position in the landscape and has potential for the presence of buried archaeological remains, including burials, artefacts and palaeoenvironmental evidence. Architectural features such as the inner and outer kerb and the likely remains of a central chamber are notable. The cup-marked stone forming part of the inner kerb is an unusual feature and adds to the importance of the cairn. There are other cairns in the vicinity of the monument, which together can contribute to our understanding of the form and nature of the prehistoric landscape.  This is important for enhancing our understanding of late Neolithic and early Bronze Age society, its organisation, economy, religion and demography. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand funerary practice, death and burial in prehistoric times, and the placing of such monuments within the landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 12763 (accessed on 06/05/2015).

The Highland Council Historic Environment Record reference MHG41549 (accessed on 06/05/2015).

Childe, V G. (1944). 'An unrecognised group of chambered cairns , Proceedings of the Society of Antiquities of Scotland, vol. 78. Page: 34.

Henshall, A S. (1963). The chambered tombs of Scotland, vol. 1. Edinburgh.

Malone, B. (2008). 'Mulchaich Farm, Alcaig, Highland (Urquhart and Logie Wester parish), evaluation , Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, vol. 9. Cathedral Communications Limited, Wiltshire, England. Page: 118.

RCAHMS. (1979) Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of the Black Isle, Ross and Cromarty District, Highland Region, Edinburgh. Page: 8, No. 16.

Woodham, A. (1956). 'A survey of prehistoric monuments in the Black Isle , Proceedings of the Society of Antiquities of Scotland, vol. 88. Pages: 72-3.


HER/SMR Reference


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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