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Arran, Blackwaterfoot

Cairn (Period Unassigned), Dagger (Bronze)(Bronze Age), Mount (Gold)(Bronze Age)

Site Name Arran, Blackwaterfoot

Classification Cairn (Period Unassigned), Dagger (Bronze)(Bronze Age), Mount (Gold)(Bronze Age)

Canmore ID 39203

Site Number NR82NE 3

NGR NR 8980 2811

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council North Ayrshire
  • Parish Kilmory
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Cunninghame
  • Former County Buteshire

Archaeology Notes

NR82NE 3 8980 2811

(NR 8980 2811) Cairn (NR) (Site of)

Bronze Blade and Gold Fillet found AD 1900 (NAT)

OS 6" map, Buteshire, 2nd ed., (1924)

A very large cairn formerly stood here, S of Blackwaterfoot, In 1772 it was described as a 'stupendous cairn, 114ft over, and of vast height'. It was severely robbed in the 19th century and a number of cists were exposed. In 1900 a further cist was found. It measured 4ft 3ins x 2ft 4ins x 2ft 6ins deep, with a capstone, 7ft x 5ft and contained an Early Bronze Age dagger and gold pommel-mount, now in the NMAS (Acc. No. EQ 268).

T Pennant 1776; J McArthur 1861; T H Bryce 1902; A S Henshall 1968; J N G Ritchie (ed.) 1973; R McLellan 1977.

(Bronze dagger of Sproughton type). Triangular dagger-blade, damaged and corroded, broken in two. W-shaped heel which may have continued as tang. Two rivet-holes with stout rivets still in position. W-shaped hilt-mark. Three delicate ribs converging towards tip, which is missing. Hilt-mark outlined by row of tint dots. Ribs bordered by rows of dots, spaced 10 to 13 per cm. Very flat section with slight swelling for ribs.

Found with curved strip of ribbed sheet-gold which was part of pommel-mount. Length 22.8cm, width 6.4cm.

S Gerloff 1975.

There is no trace of the cairn or cists at Cairnhouse (NR 8979 2814). The occupier (Mrs H Macalister, Cairnhouse, Blackwaterfoot) believes the cairn was sited where the house now stands and that the cist was found at NR 8982 2810.

Visited by OS (TRG), 11 October 1977.


Watching Brief (1 August 2013 - 25 July 2014)

A programme of archaeological works was required by John Thomson Construction Ltd in respect to the development of residential houses at Cairnhouse, Blackwaterfoot, Arran. The archaeological works were designed to mitigate the impact on the archaeological remains within the development area. The archaeological investigative works consisted of a watching brief within the partially demolished farmyard and an evaluation which was designed to assess an 8% sample of the greenfield areas surrounding the farmyard. The watching brief and archaeological evaluation were undertaken between the 11th June and 1st July 2014. The farmyard was situated over a known cairn site (NR82NE 3) which was demolished in the mid-19th century though its original extent was marked on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map for Arran and a number of stone lined cists were found. Later excavations were carried out in 1900 which uncovered another stone lined cist and a Bronze Age dagger and gold pommel-mount was also recovered. During the demolition in the 19th century a number of stone lined cists were exposed. The watching brief was concerned with the removal of the farmyards concrete surface and the stripping of large areas dispersed across its extent. The evaluation comprised of fourteen trenches located in greenfield areas surrounding the farmyard. No significant archaeological features were discovered in the majority of the evaluation trenches and within the watching brief area centred on the farmyard, however a rectangular structure, of dry stone construction, and two stone concentrations were identified within T13 in the south western part of the development area. Upon investigation the structure proved to be 18th or 19th century in date after a pottery sherd of that date was recovered from a layer within the structure. T Rees 2014.


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