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Burn Of Edramucky

Shieling Hut(S) (Post Medieval), Still (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Burn Of Edramucky

Classification Shieling Hut(S) (Post Medieval), Still (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Edramucky Burn; Ben Lawers Nature Trail

Canmore ID 24495

Site Number NN63NW 21

NGR NN 61362 39252

NGR Description Centred NN 61362 39252

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


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

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Kenmore (Perth And Kinross)
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NN63NW 21 centred 61362 39252.

Centred NN 614 393. There is a group of 31 shielings on level ground on both sides of the Burn of Edramucky. Ten are circular, averaging 4.0m in diameter, and the remainder are rectangular, measuring up to 7.0 x 4.0m. They generally survive as turf-covered footings, or as stone walls up to 0.5m high.

Visited by OS (JP) 20 September 1969.

No change to previous field report.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (JRL) 13 December 1978.

These shielings fall within an area surveyed by ACFA in 1994 (see NN63NW 27).

D Macinnes 1994.

NN 61 39 Three trenches were opened amidst the high shieling group and within the N portion of the Ben Lawers Nature Trail. Trench 1 was located over the putative shieling 'tell' site on a moraine ridge running SW-NE and lying above the main shieling grouping at the head of the Edramucky Burn (NN 615 392). This site, although not fully excavated, was demonstrated to be of turf construction and produced a very substantial assemblage of worked quartz from both secure and insecure contexts. Trench 2 was located over the S half of a rectangular shieling hut with central entrance (NN 615 329). This trench was also not fully excavated, though post-holes, hearths and multiple floor deposits were identified in the interior. On the exterior a pathed entrance-way was flanked by semi-circular silt and turf banks with stone revetments. Finds from insecure contexts include 19th-century glass and 15th to 16th-century glazed red wares. Trench 3 was positioned over a 'figure-of-eight' structure built of large orthostats, to the E of the shieling group (NN 613 393). Excavation concentrated on the interior of the building, which appeared to have an entrance on its N side. Once again the structure was not fully excavated, though evidence recovered from the interior included flooring deposits, stake-holes, post-holes and pits within the floor. With the exception of sherds of 15th to 16th-century glazed red wares, few artefacts were recovered.

A full report will be lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsors: National Trust for Scotland, Historic Scotland, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Russell Trust.

A Morrison and J A Atkinson 1996

A second pilot season of the Ben Lawers Historic Landscape Project was undertaken in September 1997. This phase of work was targeted on four structures within the high shieling group of the Ben Lawers Nature Trail.

NN 6146 3924 A 10 x 10m trench was excavated over a mound located along the moraine bank which was partially excavated in 1996 (Morrison and Atkinson 1996). This season's excavation revealed that several turf banks ran along the top of the moraine bank forming a small structure, c 3.4 x 2.5m, containing stake-holes, post-holes and a firespot. Along the southern foot of the moraine bank a platform composed of turf and stone had been constructed, within which was at least one large post-hole. The partial excavation of the turf structure has indicated that it could be a dwelling of some form. The presence of microliths and snapped blades amongst the assemblage of worked quartz and flint recovered clearly indicates Mesolithic activity within the area. The recovery of charcoal from the firespot within the interior of the structure should provide a radiocarbon date relating to the use of the structure.

NN 6145 3925 A 10 x 8m trench was located over the whole of a drystone rectangular shieling hut which was partially excavated in 1996 (Morrison and Atkinson 1996). Evidence from the interior indicated two phases of construction, with an extension added to the original construction which was evidenced in differences in floor deposits and was also apparent in a difference in wall construction. The structure was originally 5.5m long by 1.6m broad and was extended to 6.8m long. Internal features revealed included a series of post impressions and a sub-division of the interior defined in a line of stake-holes. Other features included a series of timber slots around the firepit adjacent to the entrance. Artefacts recovered during the excavation include ironwork, bone, ceramics (late medieval redware), glass and struck quartz.

NN 6129 3928 Upon deturfing and cleaning back an enlarged area of this structure, it became apparent that there were in fact two structures. This was shown by the variations in alignment and constructional technique, notably the lower northern structure was constructed from large schist orthostats with a bank of sand and gravel and was oval in plan, and the raised southern structure was constructed as a drystone wall with large turf bank and was rectangular in plan. The bank of the southern structure (later) overlay that of the northern (earlier), and the interior of the later structure was cut by numerous post-holes suggesting that this structure was roofed. It would appear that the original entrance continued in use during the lifetime of the later structure, perhaps as some form of outhouse or enclosure. The western bank of the later structure was revetted at a point where it is bypassed by a droveway suggesting contemporaneity with this feature. Finds from this season mirror those of last year with glass, iron objects, late medieval redware pottery and some (possibly residual) quartz flakes being recovered. None of these finds were well-stratified.

NN 6143 3926 A 5 x 5m trench was placed over a small circular drystone structure of 1.4m internal diameter, which had previously been identified as a possible dairy building within the shieling group. Excavation focused in the interior entrance (which faced SE) and external area including outer bank and a linear ditch structure which ran N-S to the W of the structure. Evidence of a sealed land surface to the S of the structure was also noted, with a fragment of possibly prehistoric pottery being recovered from the hillwash over this feature. The main structure appeared to be of single-phase construction and no datable artefacts were recovered from its interior.

An interim report will be lodged with the NMRS in due course.

Sponsors: Historic Scotland, National Trust for Scotland.

J A Atkinson, M Donnelly and G MacGregor 1997

Site recorded during the third pilot season of the Ben Lawers Historic Landscape Project undertaken in August 1998 on the northern shores of Loch Tay (Atkinson, Donnelly and MacGregor 1997).

NN 6139 3924 Excavation of a 12 x 12.5m trench on the moraine bank within the Ben Lawers Nature Trail (NMRS NN63NW 21) this year revealed a series of turf structures on a knoll to the W of the 1997 trench 1 site. Two groups of structures were apparent, the first dominating the upper slopes and apex of the mound and the second located around the southern faces of the lower extent of the mound. The structures appeared to be oval (c 4.5 x 2.5m in extent) and constituted by turf and stone banks with hollowed-out interiors. At least four phases of use and rebuilding were identified, each with individual fire-spots located within their interiors. Material culture recovered from the excavation includes lithics and pottery from sealed contexts. The lithics assemblage, which includes flint tools and quartz debitage together with an anvil stone, appears to imply prehistoric occupation during the lifetime of the site.

An interim report will be lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsors: Historic Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, Russell Trust, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

J A Atkinson, M Donnelly, O Lelong and G MacGregor 1998

This large group of structures, comprising at least thirty-three huts, three enclosures and a possible still stand at about 630m OD on the banks of the Burn of Edramucky, disposed across hummocky moraine in an area measuring about 250m by 150m. Most of this ground is enclosed within the modern deer fence around the National Trust for Scotland's Ben Lawers Nature Trail, but three huts at the NE edge of the group (BL00 493-4, 805) and the possible still (BL00 804) stand outwith the enclosure.

The huts are mostly rectangular on plan, though a few of the smaller ones appear to be roughly circular. They can be divided into three types on the basis of their wall construction. Two huts have walls entirely of rubble, at least eleven have an internal stone facing encased in an outer shell or embankment of turf, and thirteen are built largely or entirely of turf. The remaining seven huts have collapsed or overgrown walls containing some stone, and may belong to any of the three groups. There appears to be a difference in size between the two most common types, the turf-embanked huts and the turf ones. The former tend to be larger - nine of the thirteen largest huts (those measuring between 4.2m and 6.4m in length) are of this type, while ten of the fifteen smallest huts (between 1m and 2.1m in length) are turf built. The turf-embanked huts also display elaborations not found amongst the turf examples - five of them have aumbries set into their walls (though, of course, such features are unlikely to be survive in turf walls), one (BL00 422) has an upright slab within and to one side of the entrance, probably the backstone of a hearth, and six of them have turf mounds, probably middens, outside their entrances.

The three enclosures range in size from 4m by 4m within stony banks up to 14m by 8m. Finally, the possible still is set into the E bank of the burn at the NE edge of the group (BL00 804; NN 61513 39343). It measures 3.3m in length by at least 1.3m in breadth within rubble walls up to 0.7m high, and is open to the burn along its NW side.

(BL00 403-14, 416-26, 493-9, 800-5)

Visited by RCAHMS (MFTR) 20 April and 3 May 2000


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