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Cist(S) (Prehistoric), Arrowhead (Prehistoric), Food Vessel (Bronze Age), Pin (Prehistoric)

Site Name Achinchanter

Classification Cist(S) (Prehistoric), Arrowhead (Prehistoric), Food Vessel (Bronze Age), Pin (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 14836

Site Number NH79SE 13

NGR NH 7982 9026

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

NH79SE 13 7982 9026.

(NH 798 902) (OS 6" map annotated by O G S Crawford) Two short cists, set close together but at an angle, were found in December 1938 during deep-ploughing by Robert Gunn on Achinchanter farm at the north end of a crescentic moraine known as 'Cnoc-na- caorach' - Hill of the sheep.

The cists were composed of massive slabs. Little remained of the crouched burials, but one cist contained a food-vessel, a barbed-and-tanged flint arrow-head and a fragment of bronze 1/2" long and about 1/16" in diameter suggestive of part of a pin.

Large, rounded stones, apparently not native to the moraine, which have been ploughed up to the surface indicate that the cists have at one time been covered by a cairn. The cists are still in situ, but owing to erosion are only a few inches below the surface.

J M Davidson 1940.

The find spot of these cists at NH 7982 9026 was pointed out by Mr Maclennan (W Maclennan, Level Crossing Cottage, Dornoch) who saw them shortly after the discovery. There is now no trace of them and no indication of a cairn at the site which is regularly ploughed.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (A A) 29 March 1971.

The food vessel, restored, is in Dunrobin Museum (Accession no. 1938.1) Information from TS of Catalogue of Dunrobin Museum, by A S Henshall.

It is of Yorkshire Vase type, and the barbed-and-tanged arrowhead, which has serrated edges, is of Conygar type.

H S Green 1980.


Archaeological Evaluation (15 April 2019 - 3 May 2019)

NH 79712 90220 An evaluation was carried out at a residential development site from 15 April to 3 May 2019. Forty-two trenches were excavated, and twelve archaeological features were identified, comprising several pits and linear features, a large pit or ditch and the remains of two cists that had been previously excavated in 1938.

Four small pits and two linear features proved to be inconclusive and some may be related to relatively recent agricultural practices. A possible fire-pit and posthole on the west side of the site contained no diagnostic material, but have the potential to be prehistoric.

A large pit or ditch, which could not be fully exposed due to the proximity of overhead power lines, contained finds of shell, bone and medieval pottery. While its function and nature were not clear, it is a definite indication of human activity, possibly from the medieval period.

A small excavation was carried out at the site of the previously known two cists (Canmore ID: 14836). These had been previously excavated in 1938 by J M Davidson, who recovered a Food Vessel, a barbed and tanged arrowhead and bronze pin; these were left in the care of Dunrobin Museum. No further artefacts or human remains were found during the 2019 excavation, but the nature and extent of the surviving structures were exposed and recorded. The sites will be dismantled under supervision ahead of development.

Archive: NRHE

Funder: Springfield Properties PLC

Lindsey Stirling - AOC Archaeology

(Source: DES Vol 20)


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