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Clune Wood

Cairn (Period Unassigned), Recumbent Stone Circle (Neolithic) - (Bronze Age)

Site Name Clune Wood

Classification Cairn (Period Unassigned), Recumbent Stone Circle (Neolithic) - (Bronze Age)

Alternative Name(s) Monthammock

Canmore ID 36696

Site Number NO79SE 2

NGR NO 7946 9495

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Durris
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Kincardine And Deeside
  • Former County Kincardineshire

Archaeology Notes

NO79SE 2 7946 9495

See also NO79SE 3.

A recumbent stone circle enclosing a cairn is situated on the summit of the hill within Clune Wood. The cairn measures about 14.5m in diameter by up to 1m in height, but it has been extensively dug into. The recumbent (2.8m by 0.7m and 1.2m in height) and its flankers (that on the E measuring 1.4m high; that on the W 1.6m) are on the S, set on both the perimeter of the cairn and the line of the circle. The latter is roughly oval, measuring 16.5m from E to W by 13.8m transversely and comprises six stones in addition to the recumbent and flankers. A fallen slab 2.2m long on the WSW may have been the tallest, and a stump on the NNE the shortest, but the stones do not appear to be regularly graded in height; a fallen pillar on the ENE is 1.8m long and the three upright stones range from 1.7m in height on the WSW to 1.5m on the NNW and ESE respectively.

Name Book 1864; R A Smith 1880; F R Coles 1900; J Ritchie 1919; A Thom, A S Thom, and A Burl 1980; RCAHMS 1984.


Measured Survey (8 April 2003 - 9 April 2003)

RCAHMS surveyed Clune Wood recumbent stone circle between 8-9 April 2003 with plane table and alidade producing a plan and sections of the site and an elevation of the recumbent setting at a scale of 1:100. The plan, sections and elevation were redrawn in ink and used as the basis for an illustration produced in vector graphics software and published at a scale of 1:250 (Welfare 2011, 333).

Field Visit (8 September 2003 - 11 May 2005)

Occupying a low rise in a grass-grown clearing within the southern margin of Clune Wood, this recumbent stone circle stands side by side with a ring-cairn in a position that before the trees grew up commanded extensive views out across lower Deeside. Roughly oval on plan, the circle measures 17.5m from ENE to WSW by 16.7m transversely and retains its full complement of nine stones, though these are not disposed strictly symmetrically to either side of an axis drawn at right-angles through the recumbent. The recumbent (2) is a boulder measuring 2.95m in length by 1.05m in height, with its relatively uneven summit tilted down towards the W. The two flankers (1 & 3), which stand 1.55m and 1.3m high respectively, are of a similar shape and are set back slightly from the leading edge of the recumbent, but while the western extends its alignment, the eastern is turned slightly as if to trace the arc of the circle. Of the rest of the stones, two are fallen (5 & 9) and one is reduced to a stump (6), but they are relatively evenly spaced and are roughly graded to reduce in height northwards from the orthostats to either side of the recumbent setting (4 & 9). The fallen orthostats on the ENE (5) and the WSW (9) have been deliberately felled, the former showing signs that it has been split lengthwise, and the latter exhibiting a string of eight rectangular sockets sunk in preparation for its reduction. A stone lying beside the stump of orthostat 6 may belong to its missing upper section. The interior contains a cairn measuring 15.3 from E to W by 13.9m transversely and up to 1m in height, but this is also encircled by a stony platform that extends out well beyond the ring. The main body of the cairn projects outwards on the SSE into the back of the recumbent setting, with one possible kerbstone visible immediately behind the W flanker and another a little further round to the W. The cairn has been heavily disturbed, notably by the construction of a small walled enclosure and the digging of two large pits, one at the centre and the other behind the recumbent. Presumably sunk in search of treasure, a large slab lies in the bottom of the pit at the centre, while the other reveals a foundation of large boulders behind the recumbent. The wall of the overlying enclosure, which displays an internal batter, lies eccentrically to both the perimeter of the cairn and the surrounding circle, and is probably no more than the ‘ree’ (fold or stock enclosure) referred to in the circle’s traditional place-name (see Smith 1880, 299–300).

Visited by RCAHMS (ARG, ATW, IGP, KHJM) 8-9 April 2003 and 11 May 2005


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