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Cnoc Na H-iolaire

Clearance Cairn(S) (Period Unassigned), Field System (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Site Name Cnoc Na H-iolaire

Classification Clearance Cairn(S) (Period Unassigned), Field System (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 5640

Site Number NC63SE 5

NGR NC 691 343

NGR Description Centred NC 691 343

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NC63SE 5 centred 691 343.

(Centred NC 689 347) Enclosures (NR) (5 shown),

(Centred NC 689 345) Enclosures (NR) (3 shown),

(Centred NC 693 341) Enclosures (NR) (2 shown),

(Centred NC 694 340) Hut Circles (NR) (3 shown).

OS 6" map, (1963)

A settlement of thirteen hut circles and enclosures (A-N) accompanied by field clearance heaps, stretching along the west and south slopes of Cnoc na h-Iolaire. The hut circles and enclosures consist of earth and stone banks, 0.2m to 0.7m in height, with entrances in the south or SE, except one (J) which is in the SW. The field clearance heaps cover an area of about 1600m long by 300m broad and are circular, 3m to 6m in diameter and 0.6m high. RCAHMS note a possible kiln, a hollow between two mounds, near the centre of the group but this was not identified during field investigation.

Visited by OS (E G C) 13 May 1961.

RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909.

This is a settlement of fourteen stone walled huts (A-P), of which one (P) is newly discovered, situated within an extensive field system. The settlement is within a Forestry Commission plantation, and though most of it has been kept free of tree, huts G H K L and M, and about a half of the field system have been ploughed and planted obscuring all details.

The huts fall into two distinct categories, of which A and B form one group. They are more massive in construction than the others, measuring respectively 9.0m and 11.0m in diameter within walls spread to 3.0m broad, and surviving to a maximum height of 1.0m. In both huts intermittent inner facing slabs on edge can be seen. Hut A has been partially excavated (excavator not known), and the outer wall face, visible as a crudely-built revetment of boulders with rubble infil, is exposed to a height of 0.5m in the west arc, indicating a wall thickness of 1.7m at this point. No details of the entrances can be seen, though that of hut 'A' has been excavated and back-filled.

The other huts are of more slender proportions, varying from 5.5m to 10.0m in diameter within peat and heather-covered walls spread to 1.5m to 2.0m broad, and not more than 0.3m high. The entrances are of simple form, though in hut 'D', the wall expands to 3.0m broad on the west side of the entrance.

Where clear of trees, the field system is preserved under heavy peat build-up. It occupies a total of about thirty hectares, and comprises stone clearance heaps, at best 15.0m to 20.0m apart, some short meandering field walls or linear clearance, and one or two lynchets. The average cultivation plot size is 30.0m by 20.0m.

The possible "kiln" noted by RCAHMS cannot be located; hitherto these features have been found on examination to be burnt mounds, and the brief description by RCAHMS accords with this classification, as does the position in close association with the huts and field system.

Revised at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (N K B) 13 April 1977.


Field Visit (20 July 2012 - 30 August 2012)

A desk-based assessment and walkover survey were carried out 20 July – 30 August 2012 on 29 sites in the North Highland Forest District. The work was undertaken in order to update existing monument management plans with new detailed site descriptions, condition reports, fixed point photography and plans (RCAHMS Level 4) of 25 scheduled monuments and one unscheduled monument. Three additional scheduled monuments were surveyed in greater detail, (RCAHMS Level 1). Recommendations were also made for the conservation management of the sites. The sites visited and surveyed were:

NH 728 784 (SAM 4760) Provost’s Well homestead and enclosure

NC 688 348 (SAM 2513) Noc na h’Iolaire hut circles and clearance cairns

NC 557 027 (SAM 1784) Ruim Baile Fuir stone circle, cairns, hut circles and enclosure

NC 679 390 (SAM 1779) Lach an Righ stone circle

NC 600 149 (SAM 5401) Loch Beag na Fuaralachd prehistoric settlement

NC 623 139 (SAM 5084) Achadh nan Eun shieling

NC 597 149 (SAM 5081) Loch Beag na Fuaralachd cairn and shielings

ND 212 372 (SAM 573) Rumster Broch

NH 786 942 (SAM 5484) Glen Cottage long cairn

ND 205 374 (SAM 550) Golsary Broch

NC 602 146 (SAM 5159) Loch Beag na Fuaralachd shielings

NH 730 798 (SAM 4752) Carn Liath long cairn

NH 731 786 (SAM 4743) Provost’s Well hut circles and field system

NC 689 392 (SAM 2517) Meall a Choire Bhuidhe hut circles

NH 772 926 (SAM 5573) Proncy hut circle

NC 696 334 (SAM 2519) Cnoc Airigh an Leathaid hut circles

NH 681 942 (SAM 4505) Creagan Reamhan farmstead, kiln and fields

NH 728 767 (SAM 2916) Scotsburn Wood cairn

NH 747 780 (SAM 3129) Lamington Park cairn

NH 734 834 (SAM 4763) Redburn Cottage long cairn

NH 396 628 (SAM 2720) Little Garve Bridge

NC 604 124 (SAM 5161) Meall Meadhonach sheepfold

NC 608 112 (SAM 4560) Meall Meadhonach hut circles, field system and shielings

NC 687 370 (SAM 2514) Cnoc na Gamnha hut circles, burnt mound and clearance cairns

NC 619 124 (SAM 5093) Meall Meadhonach settlement and shielings

NH 782 944 (SAM 1885) Skelbo Wood Broch

NC 591 103 (SAM 1829) Altbreck Broch

NC 592 102 (SAM 5563) Altbreck homestead

NC 571 067 Ferry Wood Broch

Funder: Forestry Commission Scotland

Steven Birch, West Coast Archaeological Services

Lynn Fraser, Ross and Cromarty Archaeological Services

Mary Peteranna, 2012


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