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Cyderhall Farm

Roundhouse (Prehistoric), Souterrain (Prehistoric), Flake (Flint), Leaf Arrowhead (Flint), Unidentified Pottery

Site Name Cyderhall Farm

Classification Roundhouse (Prehistoric), Souterrain (Prehistoric), Flake (Flint), Leaf Arrowhead (Flint), Unidentified Pottery

Canmore ID 14634

Site Number NH78NE 28

NGR NH 753 883

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


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

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


Excavation (1988)

Gravel quarrying operations SW of Cyderhall farm exposed and truncated the remains of a stone souterrain and associated roundhouse.

The souterrain was aligned NW-SE and its walling survived to a length of 7m on the NE side and 2.5m on the SW. The walls were of large roughly dressed sandstone blocks up to 0.25m by 0.5m by 0.84m high. The maximum surviving height of the walls was 1.5m. Four opposite pairs of postholes were encountered at floor level. A round pit 1.5m in diameter and 1.03m deep had been cut into the floor of the souterrain. The structure had either collapsed or been deliberately pulled down and the interior had been filled with dumps of sandy gravel.

Associated with the souterrain was a sunken roundhouse, two thirds of which had been cut away by quarrying, and a gulley leading off from it. Three phases of use of the roundhouse were identified.

Phase 1 had an inner arc of postholes c 0.65m deep and 0.60m in diameter, with an outer arc of smaller postholes. These indicate the original diameter of the roundhouse was 9m. A gulley 7m long led off from the house to the NW. Three opposite pairs of postholes were discovered at basal level inside the gulley. The roundhouse had burned down.

Phase 2 may be associated with the abandonment of the gulley and the construction of the souterrain. Six shallow external postholes are thought to relate to modification of the roundhouse. This structure also burned down. The turf roofing material collapsed on top of the roof timbers, including ring beam and rafters, which were preserved due to their carbonisation.

Phase 3 had been disturbed by the site machines, the major surviving feature being a hole 1.1m in diameter and fully 1.6m deep cut through the floor, with dark gravelly silt spreads defining the floor area. Outside the main excavation area the bottom of a clay-lined grain pit was located just by the machine-cut section through the roundhouse. Organic survival was poor and the finds consisted of one sherd of pottery, an unretouched flint flake and part of a leaf-shaped arrowhead.

R Pollock 1988.

Sponsor: SDD,HBM


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