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Cairnfield (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Site Name Shinness

Classification Cairnfield (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 5255

Site Number NC51SE 9

NGR NC 553 133

NGR Description Centred NC 553 133

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Lairg
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NC51SE 9 centred 555 133

('A' NC 5557 1330, 'B' NC 5548 1330).

Circular features shown but not annotated.

OS 1:10,000 map (1970)

A total of three huts (A-C) were discovered furing field perambulation but 'A' was first noted by RCAHMS. This one formerly had an entrance in the SE arc which is now destroyed. The RCAHMS states that a semi-circular formation of stones 0.6m across occurs just east of the hut's centre was probably a hearth. On cutting out a turf a small quantity of charcoal was found. Within the hut is a hollow about 0.6m across and 0.3m deep. One large stone seems to be in situ on one side and another has fallen in.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (EGC), 23 June 1963.

RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909.

Centred at NC 555 133 on a low upland ridge is a settle-ment of six stone-walled huts ('A'-'F') including the three described in the previous field report. Huts 'A' and 'B' are the best-preserved, measuring 10.5m and 6.0m internal diameter respectively, with walls up to 2.0m broad all round. The stones forming the supposed hearth within A are loose; there are a number of loose stones within the hut and any pattern could be fortuitous. Cleared stones have been dumped within the N arc of hut B, and the entrance in the SE has become obscured by rubble slip. Later rectangular footings are close by to the E and SE.

The other huts are broadly similar, varying in size from 7.0m to 9.5m internal diameter within a turf-covered wall up to 0.4m high and spread to an average of 2.0m. 'D' is oval the others circular. Hut 'E' contains a low mound, 4.0m in diameter, within it, and several outer facing stones occur in the NE quarter. Entrances where visible are in the SE arc. Hut 'C' now lies within a clearing in the forest, the others are in open moorland.

There are a number of scattered clearance heaps protruding through the peat on the drier ground around the huts, but no measurable cultivation plots are discernible.

Surveyed at 1:10 000.

Visited by OS (JB), 13 August 1974.

NC 555 133 A settlement of six huts and a field system as per OS.

Surveyed at 1:500.

K Sabine 1980.

This group of hut-circles is situated on the low ridges that extend NNW from the forestry plantation to the SW of Blarbuie.

1. NC 5557 1330 (OS 'A') This hut-circle measures 10.2m in diameter within a stony bank 1.8m in thickness by up to 0.7m in height externally and 0.2-0.3m internally. The position of the entrance is not clear, but it may be adjacent to a swelling in the bank on the SSE.

2. NC 5548 1330 (OS 'B') This hut-circle lies immediately E of a fence line and measures about 5.6m in diameter within a stony bank about 1.3m in thickness and up to 0.5m in height. The entrance is probably on the SE. A small rectangular setting of stones lies immediately to the E and adjacent to it there is a rectangular structure levelled into the slope. A piece of corrugated asbestos lies on the stream.

3. NC 5552 1322 (OS 'C') This hut-circle is now in an impenetrable plantation.

4. NC 5549 1350 (OS 'D') This structure appears to be sub-rectangular but this may be an affect of its peat cover. Internally it measures

6.4m from NNW to SSE by about 5.8m transversely but only an external scarp is visible on the NE. The bank, from which a few large stones protrude, is 1.8m thick and 0.4m high. The entrance is on the SSE.

5. NC 5542 1347 (OS 'E') This hut-circle measures 9.3m from NW to SE by 8.4m within a low bank about 1.2m in thickness by 0.5m externally and 0.1m internally. Two outer facing-stones are visible on both the NE and SW and the entrance is on the SE.

6. NC 5538 1338 (OS 'F') This hut-circle measures about 6.5m in

diameter within a bank 1.4m in thickness by up to 0.3m in height and the entrance is on the SE.

Visited by RCAHMS (SH), 12 October 1989.


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