Ancient Monuments

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King's Head Cairn, chambered cairn 230m WSW of Mid Kinrive

A Scheduled Monument in Tain and Easter Ross, Highland

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Latitude: 57.747 / 57°44'49"N

Longitude: -4.1894 / 4°11'21"W

OS Eastings: 269782

OS Northings: 875137

OS Grid: NH697751

Mapcode National: GBR J807.ZNT

Mapcode Global: WH4F4.MJ7X

Entry Name: King's Head Cairn, chambered cairn 230m WSW of Mid Kinrive

Scheduled Date: 6 October 1970

Last Amended: 16 September 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2965

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: chambered cairn

Location: Kilmuir Easter

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Tain and Easter Ross


The monument is a chambered cairn probably dating from the Late Neolithic to Bronze Age (around 3800 to 2500 BC). It comprises an exposed central chamber with large side slabs and a displaced capstone, a cist, and the remains of stone cairn material. The cairn is located within mixed woodland and lies around 160m above sea level.

The cairn is of Orkney-Cromarty type, a diverse group distributed across northern Scotland and the Orkney Isles. Almost circular on plan and measuring approximately 29m in diameter, the edge of the cairn is delineated by a band of cairn material, evident for most of the circuit, with some stones possibly providing evidence for an outer kerb. At the centre of the cairn, a group of large stones form a polygonal chamber measuring 9m east-west by 4m transversely. The chamber is almost complete and is defined by earthfast side slabs, with evidence for internal division into two compartments. A substantial capstone, now dislodged, formed the roof of the chamber.  Approximately 2m northwest of the chamber, a stone cist is formed within the cairn. It consists of four side slabs and measures approximately 1.4m by 0.9m. The monument is located on a gradual southeast-facing slope which runs to the coast and estuary some 6km southeast. The site, if not forested, would have open views over the coastal plain and across the Cromarty Firth.

The scheduled area is circular on plan, centred on the monument and measures 50m in diameter. The scheduled area 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 running across the monument is excluded from the scheduling. The monument was first scheduled in 1970, 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 design and construction of burial monuments, and the nature of belief systems and burial practices during the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age in Ross and Cromarty. The cairn is an impressive structure with good field characteristics, allowing us to interpret its form, function and position in the landscape. Architectural features such as the remains of a polygonal, multi-compartment central chamber are notable while the presence of a stone cist is an unusual and significant feature. There are numerous other cairns in the vicinity of the monument, which together can contribute to our understanding of the nature of the pre-historic landscape.  This is important for enhancing our understanding of Late Neolithic and Bronze Age society. 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 site record reference Canmore ID 13725 Highland Council HER/SMR reference is MHG8175.

Childe, V G. (1944). 'An unrecognised group of chambered cairns', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 78. Page: 31.

Henshall, A S. (1963). The chambered tombs of Scotland, vol. 1. Edinburgh. Page.350

RCAHMS. (1979) The 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. 11.


HER/SMR Reference


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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