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Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Site Name Dalnaglar

Classification Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 29381

Site Number NO16SE 2

NGR NO 15079 64247

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

Archaeology Notes

NO16SE 2 1505 6422.

NO 150 642: Two circular enclosures, the possible remains of a third, and the turfed foundations of a structure 100' long by 20' wide, were investigated 1958-60. They were formed by turf-covered banks covering stone walls up to 2' high. The circular enclosures measured 40' and 50' in diameter respectively. Practically no evidence of occupation was found inside the enclosures. Nearly all the pottery (5th - 1st c BC) was found outside the wall and there was no evidence of hearths.

M E C Stewart 1964


Excavation (1958)

NO/151643. A hut circle, one of a pair in the same field about 1,000 ft. above sea level, in close proximity to a long house, was examined by members of the Archaeological Section of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science. A section of 4 ft. width was carried from outside the circle to the interior, and such constructional details as can be ascertained from so limited an excavation showed an outer and inner facing of stones, with an intervening wall filling of sterile yellow loam. The absolute identification of these and other features, particularly in the central area of the circle, awaits further investigation. Mr S. E. Durno, of the Macauley Institute for Soil Research, has undertaken analyses of soil and pollen from the site and surrounding area.

A considerable quantity of pottery was obtained from the area immediately outside the outer facing of the wall, and was covered in places by collapsed material from the wall. This pottery appears to belong to the Covesea Ware family in rim form and texture, but a further type appeared, of a well prepared clay with little grit, and decorated with a series of close-set finger mouldings placed horizontally below a simple rim.

The Dalnaglar excavations will be continued next summer.

MEC Stewart and JM Coles (DES 1958, 29)

Excavation (1959)

NO/151643. Excavations financed by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Department of Prehistoric Archaeology. Edinburgh University were resumed on the hut circle (D. & E., 1958, 29). The SW. quadrant was examined in four 14 ft. squares; about 1 ft. below the present surface and inside the circle there, was found a greyish loam deposit containing carbon flecks. No hearth was discovered and only one post-hole appeared in the interior; it seems likely that the circle was not completely roofed.

The wall was mainly composed of a single line of large boulders packed with smaller stones and earth. The bulk of the wall material had fallen outwards and overlay most of the pottery finds.

The pottery adds one or two new types to the mass of material obtained last year.

Soil and pollen analyses are being undertaken by the Macaulay Institute.

MEC Stewart and JM Coles (DES 1959, 27)

Excavation (September 1960)

NO/151643. (See D. & E., 1959, p. 27.) A second hut circle on this site was excavated with the aid of a grant from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. The hut is situated on the top of a natural knoll, measured approx. 50 ft. in diameter, and had been surrounded by a wall of loosely-set boulders. The wall was built on the original A/B profile of the mound, and this material had also been used as packing for the larger stones. There had been an extensive tumble of stones on the outward slope of the knoll.

The inside of the hut was characterised by numerous rock outcrops. From 3-10 ins. below turf level, the phosphate content was significantly high, and this presumably indicated the occupation floor and debris from it. Unfortunately, part of the structure, which included the doorway, had been destroyed by quarrying, and finds were limited to a few fragments of coarse, badly-fired pottery, similar in character to that found in the first hut circle.

A plane table survey of the immediate vicinity of the huts showed the existence of three, possibly four, low angled mounds, averaging from 12 ft. to 16 ft. in each length, and from 6 ft. to 8 ft. in width. A trial section through one of these exposed a low, stony foundation, from which came two stone discs—a stone grain rubber and a rim sherd of thin, hard, dark pottery, possibly dating to the first centuries B.C.

Soil and pollen analyses have been carried out by the Macaulay Institute of Soil Research, and a full report on the excavation of both hut circles, and of the angled mound, will be published in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Field Visit (8 November 1973)

This site is now partly afforested.

'A' appears no different to hut circles elsewhere despite Mrs Stewart's uncertainty and Feachem's opinion that it is a cremation cemetery. (Information from R W Feachem 1974) It has been levelled into a slight SW-facing slope and measures 13.0m between the centre of a wall spread to 2.5m. The entrance in the SW has been mutilated by the excavation. 'B' is a hut circle, truncated in the S by a quarry, and planted with trees. It measures c. 12.5m in diameter between the centres of a wall of indeterminate width. The entrance is not visible.

'C' is very indefinite. If it is a hut circle, it has been oval with measurements of 12.0m N-S by 9.5m between ill-defined wall centres. The rectangular structure is a "long-house" measuring 29.0m NW-SE by 6.5m between wall centres. It has an annexe attached in the NW.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (AA) 8 November 1973

Field Visit (20 May 1988)

Situated within a clearing in the corner of a conifer plantation and some 650m SE of Dalnaglar Castle, there are the remains of two hut-circles and a Pitcarmick-type building (NO16SE 31); a third hut-circle lies within the plantation.

1. NO 1508 6424 This hut-circle, which was partly excavated by Stewart (1964) measures 10.5-11m in diameter within a turf-covered bank (up to 2.3m thick and 0.3m high). Several boulders of the poorly-preserved inner wall-face are visible, as are traces of the excavation trenches; the interior of the house was levelled into the natural slope and excavation showed that the entrance (not now visible) was situated on the SW.

2. NO 1501 6431 This hut-circle is situated in trees upon a low knoll about 90m NW of (1); it measures 10m in diameter within a bank (2.2m thick and 0.4m high) but on the S side it has largely been destroyed by a small quarry. The position of the entrance is not visible.

3. NO 1500 6425 The third hut-circle lies close to the W edge of the clearing some 70m W of (1); it is poorly-defined but appears to measure about 9.8m in diameter within a barely discernible bank. Within the area of the clearing, which has recently been planted with hardwoods, there are a number of angular banks (one was examined by Stewart), a length of field-bank which runs off into the plantation, and a lime-kiln.

Visited by RCAHMS (JRS) 20 May 1988


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