Ancient Monuments

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Kinrive West and Kinrive East, long cairns 150m NNW and 175m north of Mid Kinrive

A Scheduled Monument in Tain and Easter Ross, Highland

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Latitude: 57.7493 / 57°44'57"N

Longitude: -4.1867 / 4°11'12"W

OS Eastings: 269950

OS Northings: 875389

OS Grid: NH699753

Mapcode National: GBR J817.LXQ

Mapcode Global: WH4F4.NHJ4

Entry Name: Kinrive West and Kinrive East, long cairns 150m NNW and 175m N of Mid Kinrive

Scheduled Date: 27 April 1964

Last Amended: 16 September 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2436

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: long cairn

Location: Kilmuir Easter

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Tain and Easter Ross


The monument comprises a pair of long cairns thought to date from the Late Neolithic to Bronze Age (the fourth and third millennia BC). The cairns, of Orkney-Cromarty type, are located on open hillside and lie around 160m above sea level.


The western cairn is roughly an elongated oval on plan and measures approximately 63m in length and 18m in width at the northeast end and 13m in width at the southwest end. The cairn is visible as a substantial mound of exposed stones with a maximum height of 3.5m. Along the central length of the cairn, several depressions may indicate the presence of chambers. The northeast end of the cairn has been overlaid by a more recent field dyke, however, evidence at the east end suggests this terminus of the cairn was straight edged or even concave – a feature of other similar long cairns. Only 50m east of the western cairn, lies another long cairn. The eastern cairn, roughly oval on plan and visible as a mound of exposed stones, measures approximately 13.5m in length and 7.5m in width. The cairn is up to 1m in height with no visible sign of a chamber, however, long cairns can be chamber-less. The monument is surrounded by previously cultivated land, now rough pasture, on a gradual southeast-facing slope which runs to the coast and estuary some 6km southeast. The site has distant open views over the coastal plain and across the Cromarty Firth to the Black Isle beyond.


The scheduled area consists of two separate, irregular areas, each centred on a cairn. 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, track and information board are excluded from the scheduling. The monument was first scheduled in 1964, 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 and Bronze Age in Ross and Cromarty. The cairns have good field characteristics, allowing us to interpret their form, function and position in the landscape and have potential for the presence of buried archaeological remains, including burials, artefacts and palaeoenvironmental evidence. Architectural features such as the possible horned façade on the northeast end of the western cairn and the possible line of chambers within the same cairn are noteworthy. There are numerous other cairns in the vicinity of the monument, which together can contribute to our understanding of the prehistoric landscape.  This is important for enhancing our understanding of Late Neolithic and 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 13721 and 13727 (accessed on 31/05/2016).

Childe, V G. (1944). 'An unrecognised group of chambered cairns', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 78. Pages: 28-31.

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

ISSFC. (1902). 'Excursion to Balnagown and Strathrory', Transactions of the Inverness Scientific Society and Field Club, vol. 5. Page: 363.

RCAHMS. (1943). Emergency Survey of Archaeological Monuments in Military Training Areas: Ross-shire. Edinburgh.

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. 13.


HER/SMR Reference

HIghland HER MHG8173
HIghland HER MHG8178

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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