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

Site Name Fiscary

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

Alternative Name(s) Loch Salachaidh

Canmore ID 6447

Site Number NC76SW 7

NGR NC 731 623

NGR Description Centred NC 731 623

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NC76SW 7 centred 731 623.

(NC 727 623) Tumuli (NR).

OS 6"map, Sutherland, 2nd ed., (1908)

These "tumuli" are field clearance heaps forming part of a field system associated with a settlement of six stone-walled hut circles (A-F) centred at NC 731 623. All the huts are turf or heather-covered, and, except for "E", are circular varying from 7.0m to 9.5m in diameter within walls spread to 2,0m broad; their entrances where identifiable are in the south or east arcs, that of "C" being clubbed 4.0m long and 1.0m wide. "E" is a complex structure comprising an oval area 7.5m NW-SE by 5.0m transversely with a circular compartment 3.0m internal diameter to the SE, all within a common wall spread to about 2.0m, heavily obscured by peat and heather. A gap in the NW may be an entrance. The mode of construction and state of preservation are similar to the nearby hut circles, and this feature may be a bipartite homestead broadly contemporary with the huts.

The field system comprises walls and lynchets as well as clearance heaps defining plots varying in size from 45.0m by 20.0m to 15.0m by 10.0m. At NC 727 620 on the opposite side of a valley is a scattered group of clearance heaps which are probably contemporary. According to Horsburgh (1870), some of the heaps were opened for the Duke of Sutherland but nothing was found in them.

Surveyed at 1:2500 and 1:10,000.

J Horsburgh 1870; RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909; Visited by OS (J L D) 13 June 1960, (R L) 12 July 1971 and (N K B) 8 August 1977.

At least forty hut circles, field walls and clearance cairns, covered in grass and heather 'G'. (NC 7289 6252). A hut-circle, 11m. in diameter, 7m. in internal diameter and 0.3m. high. It is heather and moss-covered and has a central stone feature and a possible entrance in the SW.

'H' (NC 7307 6229), A hut-circle consisting of a grass-covered bank with very few stones, 10.5m. in diameter and 2m. wide with no apparent entrance.

'J' (NC 7301 6232). Two contiguous hut-circles, the more northerly measuring 6m by 9m E-W, with an entrance in the south and very few stones in the grass-covered bank. The other measures 7.5m N-S by 5m across and has few stones in the gras-covered bank.

'K' (NC 7281 6233) A hut-circle consisting of a stone and earth bank covered with heather and measuring 9m N-S by 7m across and 0.5m. high. It has no apparent entrance.

'L' (NC 7296 6233). Remains of rectilinear structures now visible as low earthen banks and stones.

R J Mercer 1981.

Of the 'hut circles' noted by Mercer only 'H' can be verified as a hut circle. It is set into a south-facing slope, and measures 7.0m in diameter within a heather-covered wall spread to 2.0m broad, and surviving to a height of 0.8m at the back-scarp. The entrance was in the south arc, but this part is mutilated by the construction of an early modern wall. The other 'hut circles', including G, K and K, are mostly disturbed clearance heaps contemporary with the settlement (See J Horsburgh 1870) or amorphous rickles of stone too vague to allow classification. (Mercer's site plan is inaccurate and it is impossible to relate some of the features shown with what is on the ground). Hut 'H' surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (N K B) 11 August 1981.

Sites recorded during a survey in advance of proposed road improvement carried out in October 1997.

NC 7300 6229 (centre) Roundhouse (NC76SW 7A).

NC 7307 6229 (centre) Roundhouse (NC76SW 7H).

NC 7333 6223 (centre) Roundhouse (NC76SW 7D).

NC 7295 6226 Wall.

NC 7291 6225 Well.

A fuller summary has been lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsor: Highland Council.

J S Rideout 1998

NC 729 622 - NC 732 622 An archaeological excavation of two cairns (Cairn 24: NC 7327 6223, and Cairn 28: NC 7330 6223) identified as under threat in a previous survey (Rideout 1998) and a watching brief were undertaken at Fiscary, in advance of improvements to the A836 Thurso-Tongue road (Farr to Kirtomy section).

Excavation has shown that both cairns were clearance cairns. Cairn 24 exhibited at least two dumping episodes, while Cairn 28 appears to represent a single detectable dump. Cairn 24 contained two prehistoric pottery sherds whose presence suggests that this cairn, and most likely the surrounding cairns, are of considerable antiquity and relate to activity associated with the adjacent roundhouse settlement. No features or finds of archaeological significance were located during the watching brief.

A report will be lodged with Highland SMR.

Sponsor: Kenneth Stewart (Strathpeffer) Ltd.

R Strachan 1999


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