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

Site Name Dalrulzion

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

Alternative Name(s) Dalrulzian

Canmore ID 29060

Site Number NO15NW 2

NGR NO 1229 5727

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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


Measured Survey (24 July 1962)

'Miscellaneous Activities: The archaeological staff have made an emergency survey of the well-known prehistoric houses and cairns at Dalrulsion, Perthshire, which are threatened by afforestation'.

Information from RCAHMS Progress Report, April to October 1962, prepared by the Secretary, KA Steer, for the Commissioners. Held in RCAHMS Office Archive 102/4 (i).

Field Visit (30 April 1974)

NO15NW 2 1229 5727.

(Centred NO 124 574) Cairn (NR) (7 shown)

Circles (NR) (7 shown)

OS 6" map, Perthshire, 2nd ed. (1900)

A group of c.19 hut circles at Dalrulzian is shown on a small scale map. They are of three types: (i) double concentric rings forming one hut, of which there are three; (ii) double tangential rings, of which there are two; (iii) single rings, of which there are fourteen.

Circle 'F' was excavated in 1932. It is of the first type. The inner ring has diameter of 35'. The space between the walls is 3'3" and the entrance is on the SE. Thorneycroft mentions a 'hearth' but the 'char- coal found may equally well have been carbonised by decay as well as by heat. A saddle quern was found near the centre. Pottery was found in the space between the two walls. No post holes were seen.

W Thorneycroft 1933

A pair of hut circles of the second type were also excavated. A wall of large flat stones on edge was backed by a rough wall of loose stones. Inside the ring of stones on edge were a number of post holes. Pottery, bones, considerable quantities of daub and two broken saddle querns were found.

The many cairns near the hut circles are the result of field clearance.

(W Thorneycroft 1948)

A settlement of seven stone-walled huts ('B' - 'H') centred

at NO 1229 5727 and four outliers ('A', 'J', 'K', and 'L'). With the exception of 'J', 'K', and 'L' the huts have been preserved in a clearing in a new forest, but they are masked by deep heather, and their poor state of preservation is disappointing considering that this is the type site for the unusual double-walled huts which have become known, because of Thorneycroft's excavations, as "Dalrulzian" huts.

'A' at NO 1280 5752 measures 10.0m WNW-ESE by 9.0m between the centres of a wall of inderterminate width. The entrance is not evident.

'B' is 12.0m in diameter between the centres of a wall of inderterminate width with no entrance visible.

'C', a "Dalrulzian" hut, measures 8.5m in internal diameter, and 13.5m between the centres of the outer wall, spread to 1.5m. The entrance is in the SE.

'D' is a platform set into the slope, surrounded by an ill-defined wall measuring 13.5m between its centred. The entrance is in the ESE.

'E', a "Dalrulzian" hut, is 9.0m internally, and c. 15.0m in diameter between the centres of th ill-defined outer wall, with the entrance in the SSE. There are indications of an old excavation within it.

'F' is a platform set into the slope surrounded by an ill-defined wall measuring 11.0m between its centres. The entrance is in the SE.

'G' is a "Dalrulzian" hut, measuring 9.5m internal diameter, and 16.0m NNE-SSW by 14.5m ESE-WNW between the centres of the outer wall. The space between the walls expands in the E arc. The entrance in the ESE is blocked by a fallen slab.

'H' is an oval platform set into the slope and surrounded by an ill-defined wall measuring 14.0m NW-SE by 12.5m NE-SW between its centres. The entrance in the SE is scarcely visible. A track runs E-W across the centre.

'J', at NO 1207 5716, has been partially ploughed through and afforested; the NE arc survives in a fire break, but sufficient can be seen of the remainder to suggest a measurement of c. 17.5m between wall centres. Its large size suggests it has been a "Dalrulzian" hut, but no trace survives of the internal wall, nor of the entrance.

'K' and 'L', at NO 1206 5735, have been virtually destroyed by afforestation. Their respective diameters between wall centres are 10.0m and 12.0m. 'L' has vestiges of an entrance in the SE.

In the vicinity of the main group of huts, and at the points indicated on OS 6" 1900 by "Cairns" to the W and E of 'A', are a few stone clearance heaps and vestiges of field walls indicating the remnants of contemporary cultivation.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (AA) 30 April 1974

Field Visit (6 July 1988)

The surviving remains of this hut-circle group (the type-site for double-walled hut-circles) comprise eight hut-circles which lie within a long, narrow clearing in the middle of a Forestry Commission plantation between NO 1281 5752 and NO 1224 5722.

The first edition of the OS 6-inch map 1867, sheet 42, noted the positions of seven hut-circles and a number of small cairns close to the path which today leads from Craighton steading to Loch Mhoraich. In 1866 Stuart (1868) noted the same hut-circles, but by 1932 Thorneycroft (1933) had identified a total of nineteen.

Unfortunately Thorneycroft does not appear to have planned the site as a whole and his small-scale plan of the site in relation to other hut-circle groups (1933) is of limited use. It shows that all the hut-circles lay on the N side of the path, but with the exception of the easternmost hut-circle (1) none of the positions marked on the plan can be reconciled with the known location of hut-circles on the 1:10,000 map. As a result neither the double-walled hut-circle which was excavated in 1932 (Thorneycroft's hut F), nor the tangential pair (Thorneycroft's huts Q and Q) which were subsequently excavated (1948) can now be located.

Both the OS (1st edition map) and Stuart noted the presence of small cairns within the vicinity of the hut-circles. Thorneycroft excavated at least three of the cairns and concluded that they were clearance heaps. Most appear to have been destroyed by the forestry.

1. NO 1281 5752 (OS 'A') This heather-covered hut-circle measures 8.2m in diameter within a rubble bank 1.8m thick and 0.4m high and there is an entrance on the SE. An area about 5m in diameter at the centre of the interior appears to be slightly sunken.

2. NO 1240 5732 (OS 'B') This hut-circle is crossed by the modern path and measures about 9m in diameter within a rubble bank 2.3m in thickness and 0.3m in height; an entrance is situated on the ESE.

3. NO 1231 5730 (OS 'C') This heather-covered hut-circle measures 7.5m in diameter within an inner wall marked by an intermittent row of large stones, and 14m in diameter over an outer wall 1.4m thick and 0.2m high. The entrance is on the SSE.

4. NO 1232 5728 (OS 'D') This hut-circle lies immediately SSE of (3) and has been levelled into the slope. It measures 11m in internal diameter and is defined by a rear scarp and a bank (2.3m in thickness and up to 0.4m in internal height); the entrance is on the ESE. The SW side of the hut-circle is obscured by a thick growth of heather.

5. NO 1228 5726 (OS 'E') This double-walled hut-circle measures 8m in diameter within an inner wall, which is faced with upright slabs on the N and slab-and-boulder-built on the S. It measures about 16m in diameter overall and the outer wall (1m thick and 0.2m high) has been reduced to little more than a scarp on all sides but the NNW; the entrance is on the SSE. The OS noted traces of an old excavation within the hut-circle; this is unlikely to have been the work of Thorneycroft and may have been the result of excavations carried out by Stuart.

6. NO 1230 5725 (OS 'F') This hut-circle is situated immediately SE of (5) and measures 8.5m in diameter within a heather-covered bank 2m thick and 0.3m high. The interior has probably been levelled into the slope and there is an entrance on the SE.

7. NO 1224 5722 (OS 'G') This heather-covered hut-circle is double-walled and measures 9m in diameter within an inner wall which is partially defined by an inner face of upright slabs. The gap between the two walls extends on the SE and overall the hut-circle measures 17.7m NW-SE by 15.5m transversely. The outer wall is up to 1m thick and 0.4m high and there is an outwardly splayed entrance on the SE. It can be identified as Thorneycroft's hut-circle D (1933, 190, fig. 2).

8. NO 1226 5721 (OS 'H') This hut-circle (which may be Thorneycroft's hut-circle C) lies immediately SE of (7) and measures 11m in diameter within a heather-covered bank 1.5m thick and 0.3m high. The interior has been levelled into the slope and the entrance, which is on the SSE, is flanked on its E side by a large boulder. A further three hut-circles were noted by the OS in 1974 but are now inaccessible due to the thick cover of the conifer plantation; the following descriptions are therefore based on the OS records.

9. NO 1207 5716 (OS 'J') This hut-circle is planted with trees but appears to have measured approximately 17.5m in diameter between wall centres; despite its large diameter, there was no trace of an inner wall, and no entrance was visible. It may be identified with Thorneycroft's hut-circle T (1933, 190, fig. 2) which matches the OS description.

10. NO 1205 5735 (OS 'K') The only details of this hut-circle which were recorded by the OS was its diameter of 10m between wall centres and its apparent lack of an entrance. It was not located at the date of visit, although a forestry ride (not shown on the 1:10,000 map) may pass close to its position.

11. NO 1207 5735 (OS 'L') This hut-circle which lay almost immediately ENE of (10) measured 12m in diameter between its wall centres and had a probable entrance on the SE.

Visited by RCAHMS (JRS) 6 July 1988.

J Stuart 1868; RCAHMS 1990.

Geophysical Survey (22 May 2008)

NO 1230 5725 A trial magnetic gradiometer survey was carried out on 22 May 2008 over an area containing six

hut circles near the Dalrulzion rocking stone. Most of the magnetic variation comes from the local geology, Dalradian meta-volcaniclastics at shallow depth. However, at least three of the hut circles show internal anomalies which may well reflect human activity. The most interesting of these is a double walled hut with a series of negative point anomalies more or less coincident with the inner wall. These look very much like postholes. Within the hut proper are a series of broader positive anomalies which could correspond to

hearth stones or other burnt features in an occupation layer. A second hut has hints of similar features, though the picture is more degraded, while the third hut has a linear anomaly across its centre which may be natural but could mark the site of a previous excavation.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Blairgowrie Geoscience

P Morris (Blairgowrie Geoscience), 2008

Ground Survey (November 2009 - March 2010)

As part of its commitment to managing the historical and

natural heritage resources in its care, Forestry Commission

Scotland has undertaken a survey and assessment of

Dalrulzion Forest. The forest contains the scheduled

Dalrulzion huts and a number of huts, which had been

thought to have been destroyed, were rediscovered intact. A

number of medieval/post-medieval buildings and associated

structures were also recorded.

There are four discrete settlement foci. The scheduled area

containing the Dalrulzion huts is clearly distinguishable from

a second distinct group of roundhouses on the W side of

the burn [both recorded under NO15NW 2]. The second group does not seem to contain any

examples of the double-walled form and is associated with

linear boundaries and enclosures, which are apparently

less obvious in the former area. Both of these areas can be

distinguished from the two later medieval/post-medieval

settlements of Craigton and Ballaquharry to the NE, each of

which has its own distinct form. The Craigton houses appear

to be on slightly irregular rectilinear plans and at present

there is little evidence for the larger enclosures recognisable at

Ballaquharry. This may reflect differential survival; however,

the fact that the move to the present site of Craigton appears

to have occurred well before the final pre-improvement phase,

whilst Ballaquharry maintained its location, is suggestive of

genuine differences in development. One suggestion would

be that Craigton developed from a shieling settlement. This

is supported by the area’s position as a detached portion of

Carputh parish, the lack of linear boundaries and enclosures

in the vicinity of the earlier houses and by the apparently

later placename suffix of ‘tun’. The move to the present site

might have occurred after an episode of land improvement

sometime before the 18th century.

The following features were recorded during the landscape

management survey November 2009–March 2010. Each

feature has been given a unique number (eg DAL010 is

Site 10). Measurements given are internal, except where

otherwise indicated.

NO 1223 5723 Hut circle Recorded as ‘Hut E’ by Thornycroft

in the 1930s and was located to the edge of the scheduled

area. (DAL010) [NO15NW 2]

NO 1258 5750 Circular feature A very denuded and barely

visible circular feature c15m in diameter and open on its N

side. (DAL011) [NO15NW 2]

NO 1259 5751 Linear bank Very denuded linear feature

heading 320° from c6m NE of the circular feature for 27m

and perhaps ending at a clearance heap. (DAL012) [NO15NW 2]

NO 1330 5760 Curvilinear dyke Dyke running for at least

150m NW–SE from below Creagan Soillen. (DAL013) [NO15NW 97]

NO 1279 5754 Shooting butts A line of shooting butts

extending NE from the scheduled area. Some appear to have

reused earlier clearance remains. (DAL017) [NO15NW 98]

NO 1206 5734 Shooting butts A line of shooting butts

extending W from the burn to the W of the scheduled area.

One appears to have reused an earlier building (see 026

below). (DAL018) [NO15NW 99]

NO 1200 5725 Hut circle Single walled roundhouse, c9m

in diameter. (DAL020) [NO15NW 2]

NO 1197 5726 Hut circle A badly disturbed structure,

probably a roundhouse, situated at the E end of a triangularshaped

enclosure (see 022 below). (DAL021) [NO15NW 100]

NO 1194 5724 Enclosure features A series of linear dykes

directly associated with structures (021, 023, 024, 050)

and indirectly with others. The NW end appears to form a

triangular enclosure with at least two further enclosures to

the SE. Two further linear dykes extend NE to features 026

and 027. (DAL022) [NO15NW 100]

NO 1195 5721 Hut circle Heavily disturbed roundhouse,

c7m in diameter, at the S end of enclosure 022. (DAL023) [NO15NW 100]

NO 1196 5721 Hut circle Roundhouse, c12m in diameter,

slightly E of 023 and attached to enclosure 022. (DAL024) [NO15NW 100]

NO 1207 5745 Circular setting A circular setting of stones,

9m in diameter. The perimeter is formed of closely set stones

standing on their narrow edges and it is possibly a pen.

(DAL025) [NO15NW 101]

NO 1201 5736 Building platform Former building, c9 x

4.5m externally, reworked as a shooting butt, located in the

corner of a small enclosure (027). (DAL026)

NO 1200 5734 Enclosure A small stone-built enclosure

on the W side of the present track, encloses structure 026.


NO 1210 5745 Cairns Two cairns downslope from 025,

examples of a number in this area and presumably clearance

related. (DAL028) [NO15NW 103]

NO 1214 5742 Hut circle A substantially constructed

roundhouse, c11m in diameter, near the E edge of a

promontory. Both ‘door posts’ appeared to be in situ. The

northern one had a regular square section and its outer

face seemed to show an element of ‘graphic design’. It was

not clear if the incised lines were entirely natural, but their

evident portrayal of an animal’s head is unlikely to have gone

un-noticed by the builders. (DAL029) [NO15NW 104]

NO 1207 5735 Hut circle The easternmost of a pair of

roundhouses, c10m in diameter, as noted by the OS in 1974.

A bank runs S beneath a shooting butt, then loops to rejoin

031 on its S side. (DAL030) [NO15NW 2]

NO 1205 5734 Hut circle The western roundhouse, c9m in

diameter, as noted by the OS in 1974. It is now barely visible

beneath deep turf. (DAL031) [NO15NW 2]

NO 1220 5746 Cairn A quite substantial cairn, c8m in

diameter, atop a knoll. Its position and size suggest that it

might be ceremonial rather than clearance related. (DAL032) [NO15NW 105]

NO 1231 5754 Cairn A solitary cairn near the edge of boggy

ground. Its position related to the other cairns and linear

boundaries to the SW suggest it may be helping to define the

core area of settlement. (DAL033) [NO15NW 106]

NO 1227 5790 – NO 1255 5803 Field system A large

enclosure associated with the farmstead 035-7. It has been

meticulously cleared and is defined by a curvilinear stone

dyke, suggesting a pre-improvement date. The curving dykes

running E appear to have defined a trackway linking the

adjoining farmsteads. (DAL034) [NO15NW 24]

This and the following structures (035-043) appear to relate

to the fermtoun noted as Ballaquharry by Roy. This was

reduced to a single farmstead, presumably as a result of the

rationalisation of improvement and recorded by the RCAHMS

under NO15NW 24. Further buildings, presumably parts of

the same fermtoun, are listed as NO15NW 25, 26, 27 and 64

and these elements fall to the E of Forestry Commission land.

NO 1248 5801 Building Represented by low foundation

walls, 9.2 x 2.6m, possibly a byre or other outbuilding rather

than a house. (DAL035) [NO15NW 24]

NO 1250 5800 Building A small, two-celled structure with

yard. The building was c3m wide, the W cell c3m and E cell

2.5m long. A door opened onto the yard from the E cell and

the cells were linked by a doorway against the S wall. The

possible remains of another structure existed to the E of the

house. (DAL036) [NO15NW 24]

NO 1252 5792 Enclosure A small badly denuded enclosure

or yard, 10 x 11m, sitting atop an outcrop. The vestiges of

a dyke run NW towards a farmstead recorded on the 1946

aerial photographs. (DAL037) [NO15NW 24]

NO 1253 5803 Linear boundary The rear of the improved

farmstead juts into FC land. A dyke runs E behind the farm

to meet the earthworks on the modern boundary. The dyke

formed part of the pre-improvement landscape. (DAL038) [NO15NW 24]

NO 1261 5810 Building Located above a steep slope, c9 x

3m. (DAL039) [NO15NW 24]

NO 1256 5807 – NO 1250 5835 Field system Continuation

of the interrupted field system lying outside FC lands and

part of the tounship boundaries of Ballaquharry. The dykes

are stone built. (DAL040) [NO15NW 24]

NO 1248 5832 Enclosure Partial remains of at least one

stone-built enclosure. (DAL041) [NO15NW 26]

NO 1250 5830 Building Two-celled building using the W

side of the boundary dyke 040.

The building was c2.7m wide, the S cell c4m and the N

cell c3.5m long. The N cell had a doorway on its E side. This

building is at the end of a short dyke which is linked to the

farmstead to the E. (DAL042) [NO15NW 26]

NO 1257 5822 Clearance remains A large collection of

clearance debris on a cleared ledge. (DAL043) [NO15NW 107]

NO 1289 5778 Hollow-way A short stretch of hollow-way

runs from the westernmost building of Craigton (see below).

(DAL044) [NO15NW 108]

NO 1317 5765 Farmstead Building, c10 x 3m, with attached

yard. The yard runs the length of the building and was c7.5m

wide. (DAL045) [NO15NW 109]

NO 1316 5771 Farmstead A small farmstead consisting of

two small buildings and a yard. Building 1 measured c7.3m

long x 2.7–3.2m wide and Building 2 c6m long x 3m wide.

The yard measured c6 x 7m and appeared to be separated

from Building 2 by a c1m gap. (DAL046). The building

(NO15NW 23) would seem to be the westernmost surviving

structure from this tounship.

NO 1310 5778 Farmstead A farmstead consisting of three

buildings and a kiln with attached yard. These structures,

like 046, survive as very slight earthworks. Building 1

measured c6m long x 2.1–3.9m wide, Building 2 4.4 x 2.5m

and Building 3 3.7 x 2.2m. A discontinuous wall from the N

corner of Building 1 and the S corner of Building 2 suggests

that they may have been connected at some point. A circular

structure, c5m externally and presumably a kiln was recorded

to the W of Buildings 1–3. A c5.5 x 4m yard was attached to

the SE side of this structure. (DAL047) [NO15NW 110]

NO 1257 5748 Hut circle A small hut circle with a diameter

of c5m, located within the scheduled area. (DAL049) [NO15NW 2]

NO 1207 5716 Hut circle A large roundhouse noted by the

OS in 1974 as partially destroyed. The SW half is still intact

and in quite good condition, but the NE half has probably

been badly truncated. (DAL050) [NO15NW 2]

Archive: Forestry Commission Scotland, Perthshire and RCAHMS

Funder: Forestry Commission Scotland


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