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Shiel Bridge

Henge (Neolithic) - (Bronze Age)

Site Name Shiel Bridge

Classification Henge (Neolithic) - (Bronze Age)

Canmore ID 12002

Site Number NG91NW 3

NGR NG 9308 1868

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Glenshiel
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Skye And Lochalsh
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Archaeology Notes

NG91NW 3 9308 1868.

(NG 9308 1868) A henge monument was discovered on May 31st, 1972 at Shiel Bridge. The ditch was clearly visible as a dark green ring in a pasture within 100m of the shore of Loch Duich and some 8m (25') OD.

The site is a Class II henge, and has opposed entrances bearing roughly E and W. The ditch encloses an area some 8m (26') across. This area is fairly flat, with a slight slope downwards towards the W, and apart from one or two very slight hollows the only feature of note is a number of small surface stones scattered just inside the eastern entrance causeway.

The ditch is between 1.0m and 2.0m in width. The E entrance, which faces inland, is about 2.5m in width and is flanked by a ditch terminating in neatly rounded ends. The W entrance, which faces the loch, is narrower (c. 1.5m) and set between much squarer ditch terminals. Its inner width is about 1.0m, expanding to 2.0m towards the outer edge of the ditch. There is a clear contrast between the neat, well-planned, and relatively narrow eastern side of the ditch and the wider, more angular character of the remainder of its circumference.

The ditch was surrounded by a continuous low bank, whose crest is a maximum of 1.3m (1') above the present ditch bottom; the crest-to-crest diameter is about 15m (49'). Where the total diameter could be measured it is about 19m (62') although in many places the outer edge of the bank was not clearly distinct.

This site is the smallest of the Ross-shire henges, and indeed compares in size with the smallest henges of the British Isles as a whole; Shiel Bridge is approximately the same size as Dorchester sites I, IV, V, and VI. Nothing is known of the dating and affinities of the Ross- shire group, but the parallelism between Easter Ross and the Shiel Bridge site suggests that the two provinces were linked by the Strath Bran - Glencarron route, a route whose significance was recognised by Childe (V G Childe 1935).

Information from A Fleming (MSS and plan), 31 May 1972; V G Childe 1935.

A hengiform enclosure levelled into a slight W-facing slope in a pasture field.

The best-preserved feature is the ditch averaging 1.8m wide and 0.2m deep. It is silted up towards the W, where a causeway c. 1.2m wide can still be distinguished. The alleged E causeway appears to be a mutilation and not an original feature. The surrounding bank, c. 3.4m wide x 0.2m high, is best preserved in the E and fades away towards the W where a break, at the causeway, is discernible. The level central area, 7.8m in diameter, shows a few small stones protruding in the ENE arc.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (J M) 12 June 1974.


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