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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 661301

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NH63NE 5 6780 3742

AT NH 678 374, on a recently replanted knoll in Tomfat Plantation, are the remains of an Orkney-Cromarty type chambered cairn excavated by Woodham (A A Woodham 1966) in 1963 who considered that it had probably been round and about 40 to 50 ft in diameter, possibly as large as 60 ft diameter. The cairn material had been almost totally removed.

The conspicuous feature is the large slab which forms the back of the chamber. It is 7 ft high, 5 ft 1 inch wide at the maximum, with a gabled top. The chamber itself, entered from the E, is greatly ruined, the walls only existing in places. The stones used are particularly slight. It consists of two compartments, the inner being 6 ft long by 4 ft wide. On each side of the back slab is a small side slab, 2 ft high, 2 ft 6 inches long and 3 inches thick. The N wall of the chamber is continued after a gap by another small side slab 1 ft 7 inches high and 2 ft 7 inches high. The two compartments are divided by a transverse slab only 3 inches high, 2 ft 2 inches long, abutting the centre of the side slab. The opposite wall of the chamber has been destroyed except for a small stretch of dry-walling in the outer compartment. At about 5 ft E of the tranverse slab the chamber appears to narrow as if for the entry from the passage. Across the axis of the chamber at this point is a flat stone fallen inwards, possibly a blocking of the chamber entrance. No trace of the passage was found. The floor of the chamber is sand and contained a few tiny pieces of charcoal. In the centre of the inner compartment a flat stone 12 by 10 in lay on the floor covering a patch of black earth. Another black patch about 1 ft in diameter, was noted at the foot of the end-stone and mid-way along it. A flat slab just inside the entrance also covered blackened earth. The finds, in the NMAS include six undecorated shreds of a beaker.

A A Woodham 1966;

A heavily robbed chambered cairn, at NH 6780 3742 which appears to have measured about 15.0m in diameter. Woodham's excavation remains open and it is as described and planned, but there is doubt about his classification of the chamber as Orkney-Cromarty. His plan suggests this but the slight size of the slabs in relation to the large gabled back slab, which is the only earth-fast stone, is not typical of Orkney-Cromarty Chambers.

Surveyed at 1/10,000.

Visited by OS (R L), 22 January 1970.

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