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Peat Hill

Standing Stone (Prehistoric), Cinerary Urn

Site Name Peat Hill

Classification Standing Stone (Prehistoric), Cinerary Urn

Alternative Name(s) Peathill, Stone Circle

Canmore ID 19480

Site Number NJ81NW 2

NGR NJ 8211 1906

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Keithhall And Kinkell
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Gordon
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Archaeology Notes

NJ81NW 2 8211 1906.

(NJ 8212 1906) Stone Circle (NR)

(Remains of) Urn found (NAT)

OS 6" map (1928)

This grey, granite stone, 6 feet 7 inches (1.75m) high and over 10 feet (3.05m) in girth, is the remnant of a stone circle (New Statistical Account [NSA] 1845) perhaps 45 to 50 feet in diameter. An urn was found almost underneath the stone some time ago (before 1866) (Name Book 1866). It is remarkable that the corn grows very luxuriant around this solitary pillar to a distance of fifteen yards, and has always been eighteen inches higher than the crop immediately beside it.

NSA 1845; Name Book 1866; F R Coles 1902.

The single stone described above stands at NJ 8211 1906, in a ploughed field.

Revised at 25" scale.

Visited by OS (RD) 19 March 1964.

This monument is situated in arable ground on the summit of a broad ridge, at an altitude of 90m OD.

NMRS, MS/712/77.

This granite standing stone, which is situated in a cultivated field about 290m N of Peathill farmsteading (NJ81NW 144), measures 1m by 0.7m at ground level and it stands 2.1m in height.

Visited by RCAHMS (JRS, IF) 21 March 1996.


Publication Account (2011)

A granite standing stone, which is situated in a field on the crest of the rising ground to the north of Peathill steading, is reported to be the sole survivor of a circle that was largely cleared in the early 19th century. The stone measures 1m by 0.7m at ground level and 2.1m in height, and an urn was found at its foot some years before 1866 (Name Book, Aberdeenshire, No. 44, p 48). The circle was estimated to have been up to 15m in diameter and the crops apparently grew higher and more luxuriantly on its site (NSA, Aberdeenshire, ix, 744). Elsewhere this observation might have been taken to indicate that the interior was slightly sunken, perhaps another example of a hut-circle misidentified as a stone circle (eg Crookmore App 1.27; Newbigging App 1.67), but in this case the presence of the standing stone indicates that some other explanation is required; possibly there was a band of stonier material around the circumference of the circle to create this contrast. This would in itself imply a more complex monument, but why Alexander Keiller thought it was likely to have been a recumbent stone circle is unknown (1928, 14–15). It may have been no more than his perception of its commanding position, but neither Coles (1902, 506–8) nor James Ritchie shared this view (1917, 38) and there is no record of a recumbent here in any of the earlier accounts.

Field Visit (5 October 2017)

This isolated standing stone is situated in an arable field on the crest of rising ground 330m NW of Peathill Lodge. While it still appears to be well founded when viewed from a distance (despite leaning at an angle of 24 degrees NE), it has been twice struck by agricultural machinery in recent years and its most recent restoration has been casual - resulting in its foot being suspended free from the soil and its body being supported by two large boulders to its ESE. The stone, which can now be seen to have a keeled base and measure 2.4m high by 0.98m broad and 0.77m thick overall, probably overhangs its socket, although no packing stones are visible.

Keiller's belief that the stone might be the sole survivor of a recumbent stone circle is not explained (1928, 14-15; Welfare 2011, 537), but it is possible that he was impressed by the stone's profile, which when viewed from N or S, would have been in keeping with his perception of a flanker (Keiller 1934, 9, 20-21; Welfare 2011, 16, 122) - in this instance, one that would have been located on the east side of a recumbent setting. However, such a notion is misplaced without confirmatory evidence.

Visited by HES, Survey and Recording (ATW, AMcC), 5 October 2016


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