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Druim na Coille Moire, cairn 580m south east of Calda House

A Scheduled Monument in North, West and Central Sutherland, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 58.1612 / 58°9'40"N

Longitude: -4.9783 / 4°58'41"W

OS Eastings: 224873

OS Northings: 923011

OS Grid: NC248230

Mapcode National: GBR G724.Y4T

Mapcode Global: WH28K.H4LF

Entry Name: Druim na Coille Moire, cairn 580m SE of Calda House

Scheduled Date: 29 August 2018

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13699

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain)

Location: Assynt

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: North, West and Central Sutherland

Traditional County: Sutherland

Description

The monument is the remains of a round cairn, dating to the Bronze Age (between around 2500BC and 800BC). It survives as a heather covered stony mound measuring around 10m north-south by 7.5m east-west and standing up to about 1m in height. The monument is located below the summit of a small hill in an area of rocky outcrops at a height of around 150m above sea level.

The scheduled area is circular on plan with a diameter of 30m to include 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

Cultural Significance

The cultural significance of the monument has been assessed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics

The monument is a well preserved example of a prehistoric burial monument; cairns are a characteristic form of Bronze Age monument in Scotland. Cairns of this type, however, are relatively rare in northwest Scotland. The cairn survives as a low stony mound, measuring 10m north-south by 7.5m east-west and standing to a maximum of 1m in height. As with other types of cairn, the monument is likely to contain one or more burials or cremations.

Given the good level of preservation, there is a high potential for the survival of human remains, associated grave goods and environmental or palaeobotanical remains. Such archaeological deposits can help us to better understand beliefs surrounding death and burial in the Bronze Age, as well as funerary rites and practices, trade and contacts, social organisation and the climate and local vegetation at the time of construction. These deposits can help us understand more about the practice and significance of burial and commemoration of the dead at specific times in prehistory. There is also good potential for the survival of secondary or 'satellite' burials and related archaeological evidence for funerary pyres or other funerary activity in the area surrounding the barrow.

Archaeological survey in this area may reveal further unrecorded examples. This would increase our knowledge of this type of monument and improve our understanding of their distribution and survival.

Contextual Characteristics

Cairns of this type are rare is this part of the Scotland, compared to the number of chambered cairns. There are few other recorded examples, other than those visited as part of HES' North West Cairns project. These include Kylestrome, cairn SSW of (scheduled monument SM1800; Canmore ID 4677) and Eadar a' Chalda, cairn 385m NE of (scheduled monument SM13697). The relative scarcity of such monuments is particularly notable when compared to the number of chambered cairns, which are earlier dating to the Neolithic period, in the same area. This contrast may be due differences in discovery and survival but could also reflect changing burial practices or population change. The study of the distribution of prehistoric funerary monuments in this locale could therefore further contribute to our understanding of the Neolithic and Bronze Age in this area.

Bronze Age cairns in this area are often located with higher ground on two or more sides. This means that that the cairn is hidden from certain directions. There is always one open aspect to the cairn usually with a view or connection to lower lying ground often beside a water course. The cairns are normally prominent from the lower lying land; this aspect usually appears as the highest side of the cairn. These cairns are typically located in areas where there are naturally occurring outcrops of the bedrock which the cairn appears to emulate.

The monument at Druim na Coille Moire is positioned below the summit of a small hill above a steep ridge which slopes down to the southwest. The monument is surrounded on three sides by higher natural outcrops with an area of lower lying ground and the peak of Cnoc Duhn Mòr to the southeast. The cairn stands higher on the southeast and is most prominent when viewed from this direction.

Associative Characteristics

There are no known associative characteristics that contribute to this site's national importance.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a prehistoric cairn which can make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, particularly the design and construction of burial monuments, the nature of burial practices, and their significance in Bronze Age and later society. The cairn is particularly important as it appears to be a well-preserved, rare type of burial monument in the Highlands. As such it adds to our understanding of differing forms of burial monument and ritual and funerary practices during the Bronze Age. The monument contributes to our understanding of the form, function and distribution of Bronze Age burial monuments. Funerary monuments are often our main source of evidence for the Bronze Age in Scotland and so are an important element in our understanding of the nature of Scotland's prehistoric society and landscape. Because of the rarity of upstanding cairns of this scale and date in this part of Scotland, the loss of this monument would significantly diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape and the meaning and importance of death and burial in prehistoric times.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference MHG34504 (accessed on 18/06/2018).

Cavers, G. and Hudson, G. (2010) Assynt's hidden lives: and archaeological survey of the parish, AOC Archaeology Group.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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