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Cist (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Cross Slab (Early Medieval)

Site Name Collieburn

Classification Cist (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Cross Slab (Early Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Sput Dubh

Canmore ID 6939

Site Number NC90NW 10

NGR NC 9390 0916

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project

Collieburn, Sutherland, carved fragment

Measurements: H 1.58m, W 0.67m, D 0.28m

Stone type:

Place of discovery: NC 9390 0916

Present location: Dunrobin Museum, Dunrobin Castle.

Evidence for discovery: found during digging of cutting for the railway in 1869, buried beneath more than two metres of sand close to the shore.

Present condition: top broken and some wear to carving. There has been secondary working on face C: the right-hand edge has been trimmed back and a recessed band has been created across the lower part of the slab. There are also secondary tool-marks below the recess.


This is the lower portion of a substantial monument, probably a cross-slab, carved in relief on both sides. Face A displays one complete panel of ornament, containing four linked roundels of double-beaded knotwork, and the lower part of a panel of diagonal key pattern. Close to the base of the slab is an incised swastika, which would have been hidden when the slab was set upright into the ground.

Date: eighth or ninth century.

References: ECMS pt 3, 51-3.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Archaeology Notes

NC90NW 10 9390 0916.

(NC 9390 0916) Cist and Cross Slab found AD 1869 (NAT)

OS 6"map, (1964)

The lower part of an upright cross-slab of yellow sandstone was found erect under 7 feet of sand during the railway excavations near Collieburn in 1869. It is 5 ft 2 inches high and sculptured in relief on two faces, with double-headed knot-work, a swastika cross, a key pattern and small circular bosses. The slab appears to have been re-used as a door jamb or similar secondary purpose. It is in Dunrobin Museum.

Metric measurements, 1.55m x 0.74m x 0.29m.

J R Allen and J Anderson 1903; RCAHMS 1911.

Still in Dunrobin Museum (no. 17). No references can be discovered about the cist.

Visited by OS (W D J) 4 April 1962.

New Accession no 1869.7

Information from TS of Catalogue of Dunrobin Museum, by A S Henshall.


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