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West Town

Field System (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Site Name West Town

Classification Field System (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 13272

Site Number NH63SW 39

NGR NH 619 326

NGR Description Centred at NH 619 326

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/13272

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Dores
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Inverness
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NH63SW 39 619 326.

(NH 6192 3283 and group of 3 centred NH 6198 3295) Cairns (NR)

OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1905)

There are several fine hut circles in the wood to the S of Loch Ashie, on the moor that stretches along Loch Duntelchaig. (ISSFC 1888)

A line of stones, apparently a rude causeway, can be traced from Buaile Chomhnard to a neighbouring mound, and, at the other side of the moor, reappears near the W end of Loch Duntelchaig. (ISSFC 1885)

Centred at NH 619 327 are five hut circles (A, B, D, H and X), an oval enclosure (C) and a few small cairns. A small enclosure lies between C and D. The cairn at NH 6192 3283 is 20' in diameter and 1 1/2' high with a hollow in the centre. It is sited within a hut circle (E). The group at NH 6198 3295 comprises five similar cairns varying from 12' - 20' in diameter and 1 1/2' - 2' in height with hollows, possibly shooting butts, in the centre. There is another small, turf-covered cairn, 12' - 13' in diameter and 1' high, at NH 6191 3279. (Information from A A Woodham to OS 9 August 1963)

OS field surveyor (R D L) located a further hut circle at NH 6223 3288 (G).

Surveyed at 1:2500.

ISSFC 1885; ISSFC 1888; Visited by OS (R D L) 28 August 1963.

Centred at NH 619 326, on undulating moorland, is a settlement of 11 stone-walled huts ('A' -' L'), and an associated field system.

Huts 'B', 'C', and 'F' are oval; the remainder are circular. The entrance to 'A' and 'G' is not evident, but is in the E arc of the remainder. Measurements across the huts are given between wall centres. Hut 'A' measures c. 10.0m in diameter, with a wall of indefinite width. The rubble core is exposed but no facing stones can be seen.

'B' measures c. 12.0m E-W by c. 10.5m N-S with a wall of indefinite thickness in which occasional outer facing stones are visible. The simple entrance, c. 1.5m wide, is flanked on its S side by a tumbled facing stone.

'C' measures c. 12.5m E-W by c. 8.5m N-S, with a wall spread to c. 2.5m, widening to c. 3.5m on the S side of the simple entrance, c. 1.2m wide, where an outcrop is incorporated in the wall. Occasional outer facing stones are visible. A break in the WSW arc of the wall appears to lead into a sub-circular annexe, c. 3.5m in diameter, but this is indistinct and may be due to mutilation.

'D', the best preserved, is c. 14.0m in diameter, with the wall spread to c. 2.0m all round. The inner face of unhewn, contiguous stones is discernible around the N arc, and the outer face, similarly constructed, can be seen in the S arc. The entrance is mutilated. About 6.0m to the NW is a circular platform, c. 14.0m in diameter, bounded on its W arc by a stony build-up, possibly a hut stance.

'E' is c. 12.0m in diameter, with the wall spread to c. 3.0m all round. The simple entrance is c. 1.2m wide. The "cairn" of bare rubble stones within the hut (noted by Woodham {Information from A A Woodham to OS 9 August 1963}) has been hollowed out, but no structures are exposed. It does not impinge upon the hut at any point, but it is clearly later and, as the hut has not been robbed to produce the cairn, the most likely explanation is that it is a stone clearance heap.

'F', situated at the base of a slope, measures c. 11.5m E-W by c. 6.0m N-S with a wall spread to c. 2.0m all round in which several outer facing stones are visible in the S arc, and one to the N of the simple entrance, c. 1.2m wide. Within the hut is a curving cross wall, apparently contemporary, forming two compartments, that to the W being at a higher level.

'G' is c. 9.5m in diameter, with a wall spread to c. 2.5m where best-preserved in the NE arc, but barely visible elsewhere. Occasional outer facing stones can be seen, but insufficient to give a true overall measurement. The hut is mutilated by a track running NW-SE through its centre.

Hut 'H', on a knoll, is c. 8.5m in diameter with a wall spread to c. 3.0m all round. The outer face is occasionally visible in the W arc, and one inner facing stone in the E. The simple entrance is c. 1.0m wide. 'J', situated on a flat area, is c. 19.0m in diameter, with the wall spread to c. 3.0m all round. Outer facing stones occur on both sides of the mutilated entrance, now c. 2.0m wide, and in the SW arc. A clearance heap lies against the N side of the hut. Some 10.0m from the E arc is a curving linear clearance heap with a gap in it corresponding to the hut entrance.

'K' measures c. 10.0m in diameter, with the wall spread to c. 2.5m all round. The simple entrance is 1.3m wide.

'L', is set into a gentle slope, is c. 11.5m in diameter with a wall denuded in the W, but spread to c. 2.5m in the E, where there is a mutilated entrance, now c. 2.0m wide.

'X', described by Woodham as a hut circle, is more likely a small cultivation plot. It is bounded by a semi-circular stony bank c. 2.5m wide, open to the SW, and measuring c. 12.0m NW-SE.

The "cairns" at NH 6191 3279 and NH 6198 3295 are similar to the mound of stones within hut E, and others to the NE (NH63SW 23 & 32, and NH63NW 19); they are probably stone clearance heaps.

The small enclosure between huts C and D was not located.

The field system is defined by ruined field walls, lynchets, and stone clearance heaps which form cultivation plots varying from 40.0m x 25.0m to 15.0m square. The line of stones, described by ISSFC 1885, is an extensive ruined wall which commences on the shore of the loch at NH 617 317 and extends NE to bound the NW side of the settlement. It continues in an irregular line to the SE of Buaile Chomhnard (NH63SW 1), and on in the direction of a settlement (NH63SW 19). It is similar to other extensive walls which occur in the area, and it seems likely that these walls are contemporary with the settlements.

Huts 'A'-'F' and 'J'-'L' surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (N K B) 10 Feburary 1970.

Activities

Field Visit (19 August 1943)

Cairns etc, SW of Loch Ashie.

On the crest of the same ridge, SSW of the dun is a line of 9 small cairns, mostly about 20’ in diameter. But No.6 (from the N) at the highest point of the ridge is at least 25’ across. No 9 about 3/10 mile WNW of West Town farmhouse is also about 24-26ft in diameter. It is situated near the centre of a ring framed by a peat-covered bank interrupted by a gap at the ENE and defined externally by slabs which measures 42’ to 45’ in overall diameter. This ring certainly resembles a typical hut-circle and the small cairn seems to have been heaped within it and to be posterior to its use. A perfectly distinct hut-circle measuring 31’ overall is visible on a strip of level ground below the crest of the ridge E of cairn 9. The E flank of the ridge is traversed by several very ruinous enclosure baulks of stones, the last named hut-circle itself standing within an irregularly rectangular enclosure thus bounded. In cairn 2 there are traces of a built cist.

[NH63SW 32 and NH63SW 39]

On the next ridge to the NW and WNW of the fort [NH63SW 1] are numerous small cairns 12’—15’ in diameter, again on the E flank of the ridge near the 800’ contour. These seem to have been disturbed and dug into.

[NH63SW 23 and NH63SW 28 ?]

Further to the NW there is another group of similar small cairns on the small ridge on the E flank of the ridge that is followed by the high road from Inverfarigaig to Inverness, as noted on the OS map.

[NH63SW 44?]

Visited by RCAHMS (AG) 19 August 1943

Map ref: xix (‘Cairns’)

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