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Kinnell Park Stone Circle, Killin, Stone 3

Cup Marked Stone (Neolithic) - (Bronze Age), Stone Circle (Neolithic) - (Bronze Age)

Site Name Kinnell Park Stone Circle, Killin, Stone 3

Classification Cup Marked Stone (Neolithic) - (Bronze Age), Stone Circle (Neolithic) - (Bronze Age)

Canmore ID 24189

Site Number NN53SE 12

NGR NN 57702 32803

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Stirling
  • Parish Killin
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Stirling
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NN53SE 12 57700 32803

(NN 5770 3280) Stone Circle (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map (1901)

A circle, 30' in diameter, of six stones from 4' to 6'6" high, each erected with a broad face on the line of the circumference.

R W Feachem 1963

This stone circle is as described.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (SFS) 16 September 1975

Postcard dated 1908 in Postcard collection held in Print Room.

Information from RCAHMS (KM), 23 February 1996.

The circle has a diameter of c.10m and is made up of six stones ranging in height from c.1.4m to 1.9m. It lies approximately 100m SE of the River Dochart overlooking the confluence of the Dochart and the Lochay, and the western end of Loch Tay.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 13 March 1996.


Field Visit (September 1978)

Kinnell NN 577 328 NN53SE 12

This stone circle consists of six upright slabs, standing between 1.2m and 2m high, which have been set on the circumference of a flattened circle measuring between 9.5m and 8.5m in diameter. The northernmost stone bears three cup-marks.

RCAHMS 1979, visited September 1978

Coles 1910, 130-2; Feachem 1977, 84

Publication Account (1985)

This small stone circle is situated in a pasture field immediately south-west of Kinnell House. Few circles with stones as tall as these are so well-preserved, and it is possible that the good condition of this example owes more than a little to its proximity to the former home of the MacNab of Mac Nab. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries it was fashionable to have antiquities in the parkland surrounding great houses, and the stone circle may have been 'improved' during that period.

There are six stones in the ling and they are arranged on the circumference of a flattened circle measuring 9.5m by 8.5m in diameter. Unlike some other circles, the stones are not graded in height but the two tallest stones (up to 2m high) lie adjacent to each other on the south-west quadrant and they are flanked on the north and east by the two shortest stones (1.2m high). On the top of the northernmost stone there are three plain cup-marks: this is a rather unusual place to find them as they are normally to be seen on the flat faces of standing stones.

The Kinnell circle is one of the more westerly exam pies of a large number of stone circles to be found in Perthshire.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Clyde Estuary and Central Region’, (1985).

Field Visit (10 July 2018)

This stone circle was re-surveyed by history students from the University of North Alabama under the supervision of HES. Several new features, including an internal cairn, were noted for the first time.

The ring is situated in improved pasture on a low ridge within open parkland, about 135m WSW of Kinnell House. It measures 9.2m from NE to SW by 8.7m transversely and comprises 6 orthostats. These are roughly graded in height, with the tallest on the WSW (1) measuring 1.97m high, while the shortest on the NE (4) measures 1.35m high. However, the WSW orthostat has been raised from a slumped position since 1909 and those on the S (6) and ESE (5) are only a few centimetres shorter. Each is a natural schist slab, but the fabric of that on the WSW is notable for quartz veining and numerous small garnets. Three small cup marks are situated on the upper section of the inner face of the N orthostat (3). Packing stones are visible at the foot of the external face of at least three of the orthostats (3, 4, 5), but the internal faces of each closely circumscribes the disturbed cairn which occupies the interior of the ring.

There is little doubt that this stone circle is one of the ‘Druidical temples’ that the Reverend Colin Maclean noted in the parish in the late 18th century (Maclean 1796, 466); and it probably owes its’ survival to the fact that it was during this period that such antiquities were often perceived by the gentry as a cultural asset to their estates (Stevenson 1985, 140). Although the Reverend Hugh Macmillan misconstrued the number of orthostats in the late 19th century, he identified the presence of the ‘few faint cup-marks’ (Macmillan 1884, 373-4). Coles, who was greatly impressed by this example of ‘megalithic craft’, prepared a detailed plan and sketches in which the WSW orthostat is shown leaning steeply N (Coles 1910, 130-2). Although he failed to notice the ring’s stony interior, he observed that the orthostats did not all fall on the circumference of a circle - an observation that was reinforced by the survey taken by Professor Alexander Thom on 6 April 1955 (MS/430/21). Thom, who recorded that the WSW orthostat had been raised, classified its’ shape variously as a ‘definite ellipse’ or a ‘Type B flattened circle’ (Thom 1967, 72, 139 (P 1/3); Thom, Thom and Burl 1980, 330-1). Using his figures, Burl initially construed the difference between the axes as 1.6m (Burl 1976, 363; Thom, Thom and Burl 1980, 331), whereas RCAHMS, in accepting it as a flattened circle, evaluated it as 1m (RCAHMS 1979, 16). Although the footings of the WSW orthostat are unlikely to have been interfered with when it was raised, an emphasis on the measurement of the long axis for classification could be misplaced. The intention may have been simply to accentuate the orientation. Burl was almost certainly correct to seek its analogues amongst the 6-stone rings of Central and NE Scotland (Burl 1976, 190, 192; 2000, 244).

Visited by HES (ECB, AMcC, ATW), 10 July 2018

Measured Survey (9 July 2018 - 10 July 2018)

University of North Alabama students, under the supervision of HES, surveyed Kinnell stone circle with plane-table and alidade on 9-10 July 2018 at a scale of 1:100. The resultant plan was redrawn in vector graphics software.

Note (6 August 2020)

Date Fieldwork Started: 06/08/2020

Compiled by: Killin

Location Notes: The panel is most northerly of six upright stones which form the Kinnell Park stone circle, Killin (Scheduled Monument SM1557). The panel was numbered as stone 3 in a 2018 survey by the University of North Alabama/HES. The stones, between 1.4m and 1.9 m high, form a flattened circle measuring approximately 10.5m (NE-SW) by 9.5m. The survey recorded possible traces of an internal cairn. The stone circle lies near the northern edge of a pasture field SW of Kinnell House, the ancestral home of the Macnab chiefs from 1654, which lies 140m to the NE. It is considered possible that the stone circle may have been "improved" during the late 18th and early 19th centuries when it was fashionable to have antiquities in the parkland surrounding great houses. The stone circle lies at approximately 115m asl on slightly undulating ground; there is a low rise in the ground to the immediate W. Some 100m to the NW the ground falls steeply down to the the NE flowing River Dochart; the stone circle is 650m from Dochart's confluence with the River Lochay, before it flows into the western end of Loch Tay.

Stone 3, the southern (inward) facing side of which bears a number of cupmarks, is distinct from the other stones in the circle in having a broad, flat upper surface. The view over it, and across the peaked top of the opposing stone, aligns closely on the summit of Bienn Leabhainn, up to which the ground rises to the S. The same line, to the N, may align on the summit of Meall Garbh, the most visually prominent peak on the Tarmachan ridge. Today the view to the N is obstructed by trees planted along the Kinnell House driveway. The view to the W is of Sron a Chlachain, the prominent hill above Killin between the two rivers, although this view is similarly partly obstructed by trees, as is the view of Loch Tay to the E. No rock art motifs are visible on the other five stones.

Panel Notes: The panel is a subrectangular upright schist slab, aligned close to E-W. It is 1.4m long and 0.6m wide at its widest points, and stands 1.4m high. It has an almost level upper surface, near vertical front (S facing) and rear surfaces, and irregular sides, the W side overhanging. It is considered a possibility that the stone may have been moved to some degree in the modern period, but this has not been established.

The panel comprises a hard, coarse visibly laminar schist, containing thin quarts viens. There are a number of prominent cracks, and the front and back faces have rough uneven surfaces, with some natural depressions. There was some moss mainly on the N side near the top and close to the turf line. Only the S (inner) face bears any decoration; there are no cupmarks on the top surface as previously reported (RCAHMS 1985). There are 6 cup marks, all on the upper half of the decorated surface, and in the central and E parts. They form no clear pattern. Three are 80mm in diameter and up to 15mm deep, two are 60mm in diameter and less than 10mm deep, and one at the top right is 40mm in diameter and less than 5mm deep. Three other shallow circular depressions, two of them among the cupmarks and one at the bottom left, are possibly cupmarks but are more likely to be natural in origin.


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