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Stonifield House

Cemetery (Bronze Age), Cropmark(S) (Period Unknown), Enclosure (Period Unknown)(Possible), Pit Alignment (Prehistoric), Food Vessel (Bronze Age)

Site Name Stonifield House

Classification Cemetery (Bronze Age), Cropmark(S) (Period Unknown), Enclosure (Period Unknown)(Possible), Pit Alignment (Prehistoric), Food Vessel (Bronze Age)

Alternative Name(s) West Seafield Farm; Seafield West

Canmore ID 13393

Site Number NH64NE 40

NGR NH 6946 4582

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


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

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

Archaeology Notes

Further aerial photographs of this enclosure and the large subcircular feature to the E, taken by Jill Harden in 1989, are in Inverness Museum (8901.28-31 INVMG).

Information from J Harden 1989.

In May 1993, GUARD carried out a geophysical survey of an area adjacent to cropmarks at West Seafield Farm in advance of the laying of sewage pipes to the proposed sewage farm at Allanfearn. The cropmarks consisted of a large ring-ditch and a pit-alignment along with a series of other features on the top of a small hill above a silted-up stream bed. These cropmarks, and the recovery of large amounts of worked lithics over the years by a local amateur archaeologist, indicated that the area was archaeologically sensitive. Survey was carried out using a fluxgate gradiometer with a total of twenty-five 20m gridge surveyed, giving a coverage of 10,000 m sq. The anomalies in the survey were fairly amorphous. Near the cropmarks was a possible fire-spot and a posible rectilinear structure,with a second possible fire-spot and a semicircular anomaly, possibly representing an enclosure, further away. In the adjoining fields, a further possible fire-spot was located, but there was nothing else to suggest archaeological remains. There was little indication of archaeological activity within the survey area. It must be presumed that the archaeological activity is confined to the summit of the hillock.

Sponsor: Highland Regional Council Water and Sewage

Banks 1993a.

NH 6946 4582 Bronze Age cemetery. Fieldwalking and geophysical survey followed by trial trenching confirmed the presence of a Bronze Age cemetery. A ring-ditch, measuring 18m E-W by 17m N-S, was located on the summit of a ridge. Two inhumations, a cremation pit and a stone-lined cist lay in the centre of the ring-ditch.

The two principal burials, a dagger grave and Food Vessel grave, were located beneath the ploughed-out remains of a stone cairn. They lay side-by-side and were aligned E-W. The dagger grave comprised a burial in a log-coffin within which a single piece of spongy bone and several tooth fragments were recovered. A bronze dagger was located at the centre of the coffin and has been identified as an Early Bronze Age 'Butterwick type', with an W-shaped recess below the rivet holes. No trace of the hilt survived. The dagger was surrounded by organic residues that include: sinew thread, wood, leather and hair forming the remains of the sheath. The hair has been identified as primitive cattle hair and the wood is oak. A fragment of leather was radiocarbon dated at 3385+/- 45 uncal BP (1872-1533 cal BC at 2s, AA-29064).

The Food Vessel grave was defined by a stain, presumably representing the remains of a wooden box/cist, which was seen in section to have had a curved base. High phosphate readings suggested that a body or other organics may have been present, but had not survived the acidic soils. A decorated bipartite Irish Bowl Food Vessel and three large flints (one with retouch) were recovered from the E end of the grave. Residue from the Food Vessel produced a questionably late date of 2625+/-45 uncal BP (891-779 cal BC at 2s, AA-29063).

The cremation pit measured 0.4m diameter by 0.15m deep and contained cremated skull fragments and smaller fragments of burnt bone. Three complete barbed-and-tanged arrowheads and the remains of a dog/fox mandible were recovered from its fill.

The stone-lined cist was formed of sandstone side-stones and an in situ sandstone capstone. A bed of pebbles comprised the cist base. No cremated bone, organic remains or grave goods were located within this cist.

A further nine cremation pits formed a discrete cluster c 14m W of the ring-ditch. All contained various quantities of charcoal and cremated bone and appear to have been truncated by ploughing. Charcoal obtained from one cremation provided a radiocarbon date of 3360+/-50 uncal BP (1856-1520 cal BC at 2s, GU-7590).

A second cist was located 9m to the E of the ring-ditch and comprised an assortment of slabs and boulders used to cap irregular shaped side-stones. The fill contained a near-complete long-necked Beaker but again no human remains were recovered.

A detailed report has been lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsor: Inverness Retail and Business Park Ltd.

M Cressey, B Finlayson and J Hamilton 1998


Field Visit (February 1978)

Stonifield House NH 694 458 NH 64 NE

The crop-mark of a circular enclosure has been recorded 270m SW of Seafield farmhouse. It measures about 15m in diameter within a ditch about 1 m wide. RCAHMS 1979, visited February 1978

Aerial Photographic Transcription (13 March 1990 - 16 March 1990)

An aerial transcription was produced from oblique aerial photographs. Information from Historic Environment Scotland (BM) 31 March 2017.


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