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Tom Na Moine

Cairnfield (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Site Name Tom Na Moine

Classification Cairnfield (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 282855

Site Number NJ01NE 42

NGR NJ 07553 17089

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Abernethy And Kincardine
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Badenoch And Strathspey
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes (10 August 2006)

NJ01NE 42 NJ 07553 17089.

A group of three hut-circles and a possible ring-ditch house are situated on a broad terrace in moorland 270m NW of Dorback Lodge. The hut-circles lie at the SW end of a large area of clearance cairns, measuring up to 5m in diameter, which extends upslope to the NE, and is bounded by boggy ground to the NW and woodland to the SE. The terrace is heather-grown with occasional patches of grass, and the entire area is littered with tree-throws.

The northernmost (NJ 07553 17089) measures about 7m in diameter within a stony bank up to 2.7m in thickness and 0.5m in height, with an entrance on the SW. A small clearance cairn overlies the W side of the hut-circle. The second hut-circle (NJ 07573 17050) lies 30m SE of the first and measures up to 6.5m in diameter within a stony bank up to 2.1m in thickness and 0.3m in height, with an entrance on the NW. The third hut-circle (NJ 07548 17035) lies 16m SW of the last and measures at least 9.2m in diameter within a wall reduced to a bank that measures up to 3.1m in thickness and 0.4m in height. However, on the NE the inner edge is poorly defined as is the outer edge on the NW. The entrance is on the SW.

The possible ring-ditch house (NJ 07673 17065), which lies 90m E of the hut-circles, is situated on a gentle N-facing slope and measures about 11m in diameter over a shallow ditch up to 2.7m in breadth. A low external bank is visible on the E and there is an entrance on the N.

Visited by RCAHMS (JRS, TP) 10 August 2006.


Field Walking (4 December 2017 - 5 December 2017)

NJ 07231 18123 A walkover survey was undertaken, 4 – 5 December 2017, in advance of a woodland creation scheme. A total of 16 sites were recorded, including clearance cairns, possible prehistoric cairns, an enclosure system, post-medieval structures and alignments of shooting butts.

The desk-based assessment indicated that survey by RCAHMS in 2006 identified several significant prehistoric sites, consisting of hut circles and a field system (NJ01NE 42 and NJ01NE 48); however the present surveyors’ assessment of the same locations differed considerably.

NJ 07553 17089 (NJ01NE 42) This area (Tom na Moine) was surveyed thoroughly and the sites noted by the RCAHMS were not located. Nor was there conclusive evidence for a large area of clearance cairns to the NE, although the overall landscape was stony in places. At the time of the survey, the ground conditions offered good visibility, although under dense heather, and the surveyors were well-experienced in such landscapes. While the present survey identified a possible new hut circle site, all of the locations remain unconvincing and are interpreted as highly questionable. This may be due to mislocation of the site grid references, complete degradation of the sites since 2006 or misidentification during the earlier survey. It seems more likely that the grid references were incorrect as the area surveyed in association with the sites did not appear to have been covered in tree-throws.

Another area (Coire Molach) covered during the survey contained reference to a field system, of more than 200 cairns located by RCAHMS in 2006 (NJ01NE 48 at NJ 06948 17916). While there was dense heather on the site during survey, most of the huge number of small, amorphous mounds were believed to have been naturally formed spreads and mounds of stone within the hummocky landscape. However, most significantly, the surveyors identified 12 definite built stone cairns within this area, clearly different from the natural landscape. A group of five of these cairns were found in an alignment within sight of each other between 380 – 390m OD. Under dense heather, the group of cairns were similarly built, stone cairns 6 – 7m in diameter and standing up to 1m high. More substantial that most prehistoric clearance cairns, the sites were interpreted as probably prehistoric with a potentially different use – ie burial(?).

To the NE of the area of cairns, the landscape of Coire Molach contained a large sub-oval enclosure stone/turf dyke with internal separations. It was interpreted as potentially late medieval in date due to its absence on historical mapping. The enclosed landscape contained occasional stony mounds but not relics of the 200 stone cairns noted by the 2006 survey. It is thought that the 2006 site description may have been misinterpreted or that the landscape condition deteriorated in the intervening decade.

Other sites recorded included remnants of post-medieval sites: isolated stone buildings S of Lynebeg and NE of Toberaie and two very degraded stone structures E of Lainchoil.

Archive: NRHE

Funder: Private individual

Lynn Fraser and Mary Peteranna – AOC Archaeology Group

(Source: DES Vol 19)

Field Visit (2 July 2019)

In December 2017 AOC Archaeology Ltd undertook an archaeological walkover survey the results of which (Report on AOC Project No. 70253; DES 2018, p.102-3) called into question the findings of a survey undertaken in 2006 by RCAHMS.

HES visited the site in July 2019 to check discrepancies between the two surveys and found the three hut-circles to be as described by RCAHMS. The possible ring-ditch house (NJ 07673 17065), however, which is not mentioned in the AOC report, has been reassessed as probably little more than a combination of natural humps and hollows on and in the surface of the cover of peat.

Visited by HES Survey and Recording (JRS, AMcC) 2 July 2019.


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