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Barrow(S) (Prehistoric), Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish), Square Barrow(S) (Iron Age)

Site Name Garbeg

Classification Barrow(S) (Prehistoric), Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish), Square Barrow(S) (Iron Age)

Alternative Name(s) Drumnadrochit

Canmore ID 12633

Site Number NH53SW 15

NGR NH 5110 3222

NGR Description Centred NH 5110 3222

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2024.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Urquhart And Glenmoriston
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Inverness
  • Former County Inverness-shire


Field Visit (25 February 1970)

Centred at NH 5110 3222 is a group of seventeen heather-covered cairns, each surrounded by a circular ditch. They are inconspicuously placed on the edge of a field system (NH53SW 11) on ground which, because of its rough appearance, seems not to have been cultivated. A hut circle ('B' of NH53SW 11) occurs on the W edge of the group.

With the exception of 'A' the cairns vary in diameter between 7.4m and 4.0m between the centres of the ditches, and between 0.5m and 0.8m in height and are generally flat-topped. The ditch of 'B' is 0.9m wide and 0.3m deep and in all the others is 0.6m wide and 0.3m deep. 'A', the largest, is only 0.2m high and measures 8.5m in diameter between the centres of a ditch which is interrupted by a causeway, c.2.0m wide, in the SE. 'E', 'F' and 'G' are mutilated. Joining the SW arc of 'C' is a ditch of the same dimensions enclosing a level area c.4.5m square, and joining the SW arc of 'D' is a similar ditch enclosing a sub- rectangular area measuring about 12.0m by c.5.0m with a dividing cross-ditch. Their purpose is uncertain but they appear to be contemporary with the cairns. Enlargement at 1/500 scale.

Survey at 1/10,000 scale.

Visited by OS (R L) 25 Feburary 1970

Field Visit (1 November 1974)

The centre of cairn 'H' was dug into and virtually destroyed by Younie (J L M Younie, Garbeg) in July 1974. He found a fragment of a sandstone slab immediately under the turf in the centre which bears part of a crescent and V-rod incised symbol, now in Inverness Museum. The remainder of the cairn has been subject to an excavation since then by Wedderburn, proving the ditch to be circular.

Wedderburn (L Wedderburn, Inverness Museum) has also partially excavated cairn 'J'. This has proved to be square. At each corner is a small upright boulder. The four sides are marked by shallow ditches all stopping short of the corner stones. Centrally placed in the interior is a rectangular area delineated by contiguous stones, apparently formerly on edge, c. 6' x 3', with the centre filled with rubble stones. There are possibly indications of a ditch joining the NE corner with cairn 'H', but this has not yet been proved. Wedderburn asserts that there are more cairns in this group but although there are one or two suspicious humps in the vicinity of the 17 already recorded, the only other one that can be definitely identified is in isolation, 82.0m N of hut circle 'B'. This appears as a stony mound 3.5m in diameter and 0.4m high, placed centrally on a circular platform 0.1m high, surrounded by a slight ditch 7.8m in diameter between its centres. The WSW arc has been destroyed by a track which cuts through it. There is no associated enclosure wall as stated by Wedderburn. The walls he refers to are part of a pattern of field walls apparently contemporary with the field system, and the enclosure formed by these walls in which the group of cairns occurs measures c. 250.0m NE-SW by 120.0m NW-SE.

There is no evidence to indicate that the remains of the agriculture (denoted by stone clearance heaps) within this enclosure is contemporary with the cairns.

Visited by OS (A A) 1 November 1974

Measured Survey (1982)

The Pictish cemetery at Garbeg was recorded by RCAHMS in 1982, and the survey was published in 1984 (Stevenson 1984).

Field Visit (4 September 1997)

There are at least twenty-six round and square burial mounds within the Pictish cemetery at Garbeg. The published plan (Stevenson 1984) depicts twenty-two of the mounds, and a further four were identified when the site was revisited in 1997.

(URQ97 210-233, 235-6)

J Stevenson 1984.

Visited by RCAHMS (SDB/DCC) 4 September 1997

Measured Survey (25 September 1997)

RCAHMS undertook a plane table survey at Garbeg on 25th September 1997 to record four additional burial mounds and 2 clearance cairns. (JNS, GLB)

Reference (1997)

Class I symbol stone showing a crescent and V-rod with ? an elephant's antenna (described under NH53SW 15.01).

A Mack 1997

External Reference (2 March 2007)

Scheduled as 'Garbeg Cottage, burial mounds 920m NE of... a Pictish cemetery of first millennium AD date.'

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 2 March 2007.

Measured Survey (13 May 2019)

HES Survey and Recording undertook a UAV survey of Garbeg cairns on 13 May 2019. The survey consisted of the capture of 27 oblique and 96 vertical aerial photographs, and 2 video clips. Imagery was captured from a DJI Inspire 2 UAV with an X7 Zenmuse camera.

The data was subsequently used to generate an image-based 3D model using Agisoft Metashape. The project archive includes the imagery, the dense point cloud (txt/laz), an orthomosaic, a slope visualisation, and metadata.

Visited by HES Survey and Recording (GFG), 13 May 2019.


NH53SW 15 centred 5110 3222

NH53SW 15.01 NH 5110 3222 Pictish Symbol Stone (fragment)

For burial cairns around NH 5101 3239, see NH53SW 47.


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