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between 12:00 Friday 15th December and 12:00 Monday 18th December


Loch Raa

Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Site Name Loch Raa

Classification Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 4491

Site Number NC01SW 5

NGR NC 0213 1188

NGR Description NC 0213 1188 and NC 0219 1184

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2023.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Lochbroom
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Ross And Cromarty
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty


Field Visit (17 July 1974)

NC01SW 5 0213 1188 and 0219 1184.

At NC 0213 1188 is a well-preserved circular stone-walled hut measuring 8.0m in diameter between the centres of a wall spread to 2.5m. The entrance is in the S arc. A ruinous wall to the N, ending in the loch, may be contemporary.

At NC 0219 1184 are the scarcely recognisable remains of another, with the interior strewn with stones. It measures about 7.0m in diameter. Entrance not evident.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (A A) 17 July 1974.

Field Visit (10 August 1994)

On the E of the public road to Achiltibuie there are two bracken-covered hut-circles and a fragmentary field-system. The NW hut-circle (ACHIL94 552, NC 0212 1188) measures 7m in diameter within a stony bank spread to 1.6m in thickness and standing 0.5m high, with an entrance on the SSE. The SE hut-circle (ACHIL94 553, NC 0218 1184) is smaller, measuring 5.4m in diameter within a stony bank spread to 1.7m in thickness and 0.3m in height, with occasional facing-stones visible.

The field-system comprises low stony banks, mainly visible to the NE of the N hut-circle, to which it is connected by an arm of the main artery of the field-system. The latter runs SE for a distance of 80m from the public road (NC 0210 1193 to 0216 1187), from which two arms are subtended, one leading to the hut-circle, and the second to the shore of Loch Raa.

(ACHIL94 552-3)

Visited by RCAHMS (PJD) 10 August 1994

Excavation (March 2012 - October 2012)

Heritage Lottery and Highland Council funding of a community project sponsored by Lochbroom Field Club allowed the targeted excavation of six prehistoric roundhouse sites, March–October 2012, by volunteers from local communities in Achiltibuie, Lochbroom and Gairloch. Post-excavation

analysis is ongoing. The primary aim of the project was to gather sufficient information and samples to allow six lines of investigation to be fulfilled.

(1) A detailed pre-excavation plan of the site leading to a site typology. (2) The creation of a coherent wall typology. (3) A suggestion of function in relation to wall typology. (4) Dates for the occupation or use of the structures. (5) Reconstruction of the surrounding floral landscape. (6) Factors which governed the choice of site for each structure.

Each of the aims was designed to clarify future work on similar sites located across the W coast’s varied landscapes. Charcoal samples were taken for radiocarbon dating and soil samples for environmental analysis at each of the sites.

NC 0213 1188 Loch Raa Hut Circle, Achiltibuie (Wedig 1) This hut circle lies close to the E shore of the loch, immediately by the E side of the road. The remains consist of a rather chaotic, bracken covered, circle of boulders and stones, c12m in overall diameter. A possible entrance faces cSE. The site lies on a gently sloping hillside which falls away to the loch c30m to the W. An upslope ditch carried water around the roundhouse. A second, less well defined hut circle is c40m upslope to the E. There are fragments of enclosure boundaries around the site. Three trenches were excavated, two in the hut circle and one close by.

Trench 1, which was placed just off the centre of the structure, contained a sequence of three hearths with associated ash and charcoal deposits. The earliest hearth, a shallow pit cut into the natural with a flat slab at its base, also had an associated stone lined tank (a small, well preserved feature) by its N side.

Trench 2 was placed across a well preserved section of enclosure in the SW arc of the roundhouse. A well built 2m wide stone wall was recorded. It was constructed with inner and outer faces consisting of well laid coursed stonework retaining an earth and rubble core A single posthole complete with packing stones was located 1.2m in from the inside face of the wall. Small finds included nice examples of fragmented pot-boilers, a possible flaked quartz tool and two small rim fragments, one from a soapstone bowl and one from a steatite rich pottery vessel. A number of water worn beach pebbles were also recovered.

Trench 3 was positioned c6m N of the roundhouse. A well defined sequence of soil horizons was recorded.

Website (accessed October 2014).

Archive: Inverness archive (intended)

Funder: Heritage Lottery Fund and Highland Council

Anna Welti, Lochbroom Field Club, 2013

(Source: DES)

Excavation (March 2012 - October 2012)

NG 8077 7693 Achtercairn (2) and (3) Hut Circles (Wedig 6) These previously unrecorded hut circles lie in deep heather at the foot of a prominent NW-facing slope, known locally as Meall na h-Iolaire. The remains consist of a low heather covered ring bank c10m in overall diameter, with a possible entrance facing to the SE. The site was cleared of heather prior to excavation. A second ring of boulders lies 40m to the NE. This site (Achtercairn 3) consists of a ring of boulders 6m in overall diameter, which appears to be sitting directly on the ground surface. A total of four trenches were excavated. A single trench placed across Achtercairn 2, two soil trenches, and a small test trench in Achtercairn.

Trench 1 placed across Achtercairn 2 on a cN–S alignment recorded a fine orthostat faced wall, with a boulder fill, on the N and S side. A well built buttress supported the downhill N wall. A compacted clay floor butted up to the inner face of the walls. An oval hearth area, (char filled black earth), lay roughly central to the interior space. A second hearth, constructed of stone, which post dated the clay floor, lay against the inner face of the N wall. Lifting of the clay floor revealed a truncated posthole which still retained its post pad c1.25m in from the S inner wall face. A second truncated posthole was found 1.25m inside the N inner wall face. Removal of the wall stones showed that the stone wall was a secondary feature and that an earth walled roundhouse predated the stone structure. Small finds included a large ovoid light use pounder.

A 1m2 trench (Trench 2) was placed c10m NE of the roundhouse, but was abandoned due to geological difficulties. A second soil profile trench (Trench 3) was excavated c10m W of the roundhouse.

Trench 4 was placed in a circular stone setting (Achtercairn 3) c40m downslope of the roundhouse. Excavation showed that the stone setting was not a structured wall but a surface setting of boulders encircling an area of red loamy soil. Within the stone setting was a small cobbled area, which showed no signs of burning, but was associated with well defined areas of charcoal and many chunky quartz fragments, later identified as a worked quartz assemblage.

Website (accessed October 2014).

Archive: Inverness archive (intended)

Funder: Heritage Lottery Fund and Highland Council

Anna Welti, Lochbroom Field Club, 2013

(Source: DES)


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