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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 694557

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NO99NW 1 9018 9634.

This well-preserved recumbent stone-circle and ring-cairn lies on a low knoll 200m NNE of Aquhorthies farmhouse. The ring-cairn measures about 15.4m in diameter over an almost complete kerb, which ranges from 0.7m in height on the SW and SE to 0.3m on the N, with an exceptionally large boulder 1m high on the ESE. The inner kerb is about 3.2m in diameter, but only five kerbstones, all of them close-fitting rectangular slabs up to 0.7m high, remain in situ. The recumbent (2.8m by 0.8m and 1.3m high) lies on the S between the ring-cairn and the surrounding circle; only the W flanker survives (0.8m by 0.6m at the base and 1.7m in height) and it is linked to the ring-cairn by a kerbstone 1.8m long (Coles' plan of 1900, which is highly inaccurate, shows a similar kerbstone adjacent to the missing E flanker). In front of the recumbent there is a trapezoidal forecourt-like area delineated by a few facing-stones which extend outwards from the flankers towards the neighbouring stones of the surrounding circle (the W of which has fallen). The stone circle measures about 23.7m from NNW to SSE by 22m transversely with twelve stones and a possible stump still in position; the original arrangement appears to have comprised ten large stones (two now missing) with smaller pillars set between them; the latter now only surviving on the N and E.

Apart from the two stones at the mouth of the forecourt, the large stones are graded in height, with the tallest (2.4m high) on the SW and the shortest (1.1m high) on the N; the pillars are also graded in height with the shortest (0.9m high) on the N. A series of boulders set between the uprights may be no more than the facing-stones of an old field-bank which encloses the knoll on which the circle stands. In the late 18th century a cist (0.9m in length by 0.45m in breadth) may have been found on the E side between the ring-cairn and the surrounding circle, and in 1858 excavation in the interior revealed 'charcoal, half-calcined bones, black unctuous earth, and small fragments of a vase'.

Statistical Account (OSA) 1792; Name Book 1865; A Thomson 1865; R A Smith 1880; F R Coles 1900; A Thom, A S Thom and A Burl 1980; RCAHMS 1984.

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