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White Cow Wood

Cairn (Period Unassigned), Ring (Possible)

Site Name White Cow Wood

Classification Cairn (Period Unassigned), Ring (Possible)

Canmore ID 20757

Site Number NJ95SW 5

NGR NJ 9472 5192

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Old Deer
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Banff And Buchan
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Archaeology Notes

NJ95SW 5 9472 5192.

(NJ 9472 5192) Chambered Cairn (NR)

OS 6" map, (1959).

This cairn, situated in White Cow Wood and once 10ft high, has been reduced to a kerb of almost contiguous stones, about 47ft in diameter, containing an enigmatic structure. (See plan - Coles 1904). Near a gap in the S arc are five large stones, removed to make way for the carts which removed the cairn material. All the largest and highest stones of the kerb (the biggest being 4ft 10ins long and 2ft 6ins high) are set on the S arc. (Coles 1904) On the east side, outside the kerb, there is a bank of cairn material about 6ft wide (Henshall 1972).

The structure, once comprising five supporting stones and a cover-stone (Peter 1885 fig.2), now consists of three upright stones about 2ft 6ins high enclosing a space within which is a larger slab, lying prone (presumably as seen by Coles (Coles 1904). This slab appears to be intact and does not seem to have been a capstone. It may have stood at the fourth corner of the space formed by the uprights.

While the structure is not a normal cist, it is also difficult to classify as a chamber (Henshall 1972).

J Peter 1885; F R Coles 1904; A S Henshall 1972.

A cairn as described as above. The kerb of large boulders suggests a ring-cairn, but the rectangular chamber near the centre, of which the side slabs stand to a height of 0.5m, is atypical.

Revised at 1;2500.

Visited by OS (NKB) 17 April 1968.

This monument comprises the remains of a cairn, now reduced to a boulder kerb c14.3m in diameter surrounding an unusual setting of three standing stones, which brackets a massive (possible cover) slab. During 1988 the site was vandalised; the cover slab was removed, probably using mechanical assistance, breaking the NE standing stone, above ground level in the process. The other two stones in the setting were also removed, the SW intact, the SE stone being broken below ground level. A pit was then dug and roughly backfilled in the area which had been covered by the flat slab.

HBM was informed of the damage by Grampian Regional Council. It was agreed that the stones should be re-erected, the work being carried out by the contributors with the assistance of the owners of the site, the Forestry Commission, who hired machinery to aid the moving of the stones.The pit was re-excavated to find out what damage had been done by the vandals; a considerable quantity of white quartz fragments was found in the backfill and a relatively intact old land surface, comprising a thin soft greasy soil was noted. No burial or other feature seems to have been disturbed by the unauthorised excavation. The broken NE stone was repaired in situ by the Stenhouse Conservation Centre of HBM. Before the SW stone was re-erected it socket was measured and photographed.

Sponsors: SDD HBM, Grampian Regional Council, Forestry Commission.

G Barclay and I Shepherd 1989.

Classified by AAS as 'remains of chambered cairn'. Air photographs: AAS/97/13/G29/4-7 and AAS/97/13/CT.

NMRS, MS/712/29.


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