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Cyderhall Farm

Enclosure (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Cyderhall Farm

Classification Enclosure (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 14626

Site Number NH78NE 20

NGR NH 7649 8940

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Dornoch
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NH78NE 20 7649 8940.

At NH 7649 8940 (Information from T Buchan, OS Surveyor) on level ground in an area of glacial ridges is an enclosure consisting of an oval ditch 3.0m and 0.6m maximum depth with traces of an outer bank some 2.5m wide. The area enclosed, measuring about 13.0m from E to W by 8.0m transversely, appears to be the original ground level and is featureless. The outer bank in the W has been mutilated by ploughing, which has also slightly encroached on the ditch. There is no sign of an entrance or causeway. A few clearance stones have been thrown into the N arc of the ditch.

The classification of this enclosure is uncertain. It is evidently ancient and has the look of a hengiform earthwork about it.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (A A) 6 December 1971.

(NH 7649 8940) Enclosure (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1977)

A ditched enclosure generally as described by previous OS field surveyor There are traces of low banks both within and outside the ditch. A trench extending across the site from NNW to SSE is modern; there is no local knowledge of any finds made.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (N K B) 9 June 1981.


Trial Trench (10 May 2017 - 23 June 2017)

NH 7626 8922 A walkover survey and trial trenching evaluation were undertaken, 10 May 2017 – 23 June 2017, in advance of a proposed quarry extension (Phases 5–9). A desk-based assessment identified the possible presence of a hengiform enclosure, known to have been disturbed by a trench during WW2, the purported burial place of Viking ‘Sigurd the Powerful’, a possible ring ditch and a hut circle. The walkover survey confirmed the site of the hengiform enclosure but failed to identify any surface trace of either the ring ditch or hut circle. The presence of a large glacial esker running E/W and further eskers to the N, S and W of the site were also noted.

A total of 71 evaluation trenches of varying size were opened; of these 55 were archaeologically sterile. Buried remains of varying importance were recorded in the remaining 16 trenches. A small area was deturfed across the hengiform earthwork to confirm the location of the 1940s excavation. No further work was carried out on this feature.

The principal archaeology was revealed in Trench 47. An arrangement of tabular flagstones of varying sizes was revealed at the N end of the trench. The surrounding soil produced 15 sherds of abraded pottery, all prehistoric in appearance, together with a highly degraded metal object. The largest of the flagstones covered a cremation burial. A second cremation burial was revealed just a metre away from the first, the deposit placed over a larger flat stone.

To the NW of the cremations a large pit was revealed at the NW end of the trench, the lower fill of which produced a substantial assemblage of decorated prehistoric pottery sherds. A further well-defined pit, containing rubble in the upper fill, possibly reflects a further cremation burial. This was planned and photographed but not excavated.

A further cut feature was initially suspected to represent a small pit or a posthole. Excavation of the feature revealed fragments of a human skull and human teeth. The fragments consisted of part of the top of a skull that appeared to have been placed top down. The cut was traced to the NE by extending the trench. This produced a few additional fragments of human bone, possibly part of a femur. As fully excavated, the cut was greater than 1.6m long and 1m wide with a distinctive curved shape in plan.

The distribution and morphology of these features indicates episodic and multi-period funerary and other activity on the site between the Mesolithic and early medieval periods. The presence of both an inhumation and cremation burials is considered to be of particular importance.

Archive: Highland HER and NRHE

Funder: Pat Munro Ltd

Lynne McKeggie, Steve Worth and Andrew Young – Highland Archaeology Services

(Source: DES, Volume 18)

OASIS ID: highland4-387592


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