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Newbridge, Huly Hill

Barrow (Prehistoric), Standing Stone(S) (Prehistoric)

Site Name Newbridge, Huly Hill

Classification Barrow (Prehistoric), Standing Stone(S) (Prehistoric)

Alternative Name(s) Cairn

Canmore ID 50795

Site Number NT17SW 8

NGR NT 12342 72610

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Kirkliston (City Of Edinburgh/midlothian)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Archaeology Notes

NT17SW 8 12342 72610.

(NT 1234 7260) Huly Hill (NAT) Tumulus (NR)

(A: NT 1231 7262; B: NT 1232 7255; C: NT 1239 7260) Standing Stones (NR)

OS 1:10000 map (1974).

Though called a cairn by the DoE and the RCAHMS, who also state that it is composed chiefly of earth, Huly Hill (D Wilson 1863) should be classified as a tumulus. Surrounded by a modern wall, it measures 100' in diameter and 10 1/2' in height, with its summit slightly hollowed. Wilson states that it was opened in 1830, and found to contain a "bronze spearhead, along with animal charcoal and small fragments of bones, but neither cist nor urns". Smith (1875), from these few details given, considers that the 1830 examination was incomplete, while Anderson states that Wilson's "spearhead" was more probably a rivetted dagger; at the time Wilson wrote, these were almost universally classed as spearheads. It is noted as a knife-dagger by Childe (1935), who states that it is (erroneously) supposed to have been found in a cist.

The Statistical Account (OSA 1794) states that the tumulus is "surrounded with large unpolished stones at a considerable distance from each other"; Fyfe notes twelve standing stones, but the Ordnance Survey Name Book (ONB 1852) described only the three stones extant today. They are of greenstone, similar to that obtained at Kaimes Hill. Stone 'A' is a rough, four-sided prism, pointed at the top, 7' high and 7'11" in girth at the base. 'B' is 6'7" high, by 2'4" by 1'2" at base, expanding in width towards its flat top. stone 'C', which appears to have been broken, is 4'3" high and 6'4" in girth at the foot.

The tumulus is not central to these three stones, and Childe and Coles suggest that there may originally have been two concentric rings of stones surrounding the tumulus.

A fourth stone, at NT 1265 7262 (NT17SW 9) may be an oulier to the above system.

F R Coles 1903; J Anderson 1878; RCAHMS 1929, visited 1915; J N G Ritchie and A Ritchie 1972.

A possible analogy to the tumulus may be Gask Hill (NO21SE 14) where a secondary burial of a bronze dagger, accompanying a cremation, not in a cist, was found. Further excavation, however, is required for examination of any internal structures.

Information from OS Recorder (IF) 10 May 1974

This tumulus and the three standing stones still remain as described.

Visited by OS (BS) 12 August 1974

Geo-physical survey carried out by DoE in mid 1970's revealed no evidence of a ditch encircling the mound.

Information from P R Ritchie 20 April 1982.


Field Visit (13 April 1915)

Cairn and Stone Circle, Newbridge.

Some 130 yards south-east of the village of Newbridge, and about 80 yards south of the Edinburgh and Glasgow road, on a very slight eminence about 150 feet above sea-level, in a field on the farm of Old Liston, is a cairn enclosed by a modern wall and surrounded by the remains of a stone circle, the cairn being placed slightly to the north-west of the centre (Fig. 120). The cairn, which seems to be composed chiefly of earth (1), is almost circular in shape and measures about 100 feet in diameter and 10 ½ feet in height. The summit is slightly hollowed. Of the circle only three pillar stones remain, at distances from the centre of the cairn of 100 feet to north-west, 160 feet to south-west and 175 feet due east; the diameter of the circle has been about 300 feet. The first stone is a rough four-sided prism, pointed at the top and measuring 7 feet in height and 7 feet 11 inches in girth at the base; the second stone is four-sided on plan, expanding in width towards its flat top, and measures 6 feet 7 inches in height, 2 feet 4 inches in breadth at the base, 2 feet 8 inches higher up, and about 1 foot 2 inches in thickness; the third stone, which shows signs of having been broken, is 4 feet 3 inches in height and 6 feet 4 inches in girth at the foot., In a field at Lochend, 350 yards east of the cairn, is a free-standing monolith, possibly an outlier of the above system (2). In shape it is an irregular four-sided prism, measuring 9 feet 3 inches in height and 10 feet 6 inches in girth.

RCAHMS 1929, visited 13 April 1915.

(1) Cf. Stat. Acct., x, p. 68; Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., xxxvii (1902-3), 201-4. (2) But cf. p. xx.

OS map: ii S.W.

Publication Account (1985)

Surrounded by a modem retaining dyke, a circular mound of earth over 30m across and 3m high stands on a slight rise 46m above sea-level. It is maybe 3500 years old. Stripped of our contemporary roads, villages and industrial units, the site would have had a certain prominence. A bronze rapier was recovered when it was opened in 1830.

Of particular interest at Huly or Heeley Hill is its stone circle, around 100m diameter. Whether it was indeed a 'circle' and if so, how many stones there once were, is unknown. Certainly it would not have been concentric since the cairn is a little north-west of centre. There are three stones-one at 30.5m north-west, over 2m high; a second nearly 49m south-west, 2m high; the third over 53m east, about 1.3m high but apparently broken. The stones are massive, rough and unpolished just like that standing nearly 3m high, 320m or so east across the roundabout in an industrial estate (NT 126726). This Lochend Stone may well be unconnected with cairn and circle; alternatively it may be an outlier?

A few kilometres north-north-east of New bridge, close to the shore walk from South Queensfeny to Cramond, there is a further impressive cairn, the Earl Cairnie or Harlaw Cairn (NT 158791) standing in woodland 400m south of Hound Point Described in 1791 as almost 49m across by 7.5m high, it has been reduced by stone-robbing to about 30m by 4.6m, though a stony mound some 12m from the base may indicate its original perimeter.

Information from 'Exploring Scotland's Heritage: Lothian and Borders', (1985).

Geophysical Survey (17 April 2007 - 26 April 2007)

NT 123 726 An archaeological geophysical survey using resistivity and magnetometry was carried out between 17-26 April 2007 over the site of Huly Hill, in the area around and over the tumulus and standing stones. No significant sub-surface anomalies were detected, although several agricultural rigs and modern services were recorded, together with indications of disturbance in the mound/tumulus itself. The latter may relate to the antiquarian excavation of the 1830s.

Archive to be deposited with RCAHMS. Report deposited with Edinburgh Council SMR and RCAHMS

Funder: Edinburgh Council.


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