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Lower Dounreay

Cist(S) (Period Unassigned), Hut(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Lower Dounreay

Classification Cist(S) (Period Unassigned), Hut(S) (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 7268

Site Number NC96NE 3

NGR NC 985 670

NGR Description Centred NC 985 670

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/7268

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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Reay
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Caithness
  • Former County Caithness

Archaeology Notes

NC96NE 3 centred 985 670.

(NC 9838 6697) Grave Yard (NR) (Site of)

OS 6"map, Caithness, 2nd ed., (1907)

(NC 9839 6697) Cists found AD 1865 (NAT)

(NC 9847 6699) Cists found AD 1956 (NAT)

OS 6" map, (1967)

The existence of an extensive cemetery may be indicated by the finding of interments in the vicinity of Lower Dounreay Farm. The first group of 'several coffins' was discovered while part of the stackyard was being levelled about 1865, which was said to be the graveyard of the adjacent chapel (NC96NE 1) (Name Book 1870).

Another group of at least seven pre-Christian interments was found about 8 - 9ft below present ground level during deep trenching, and later partial excavation in October 1956. Three skeletons werefound extended and one was crouched. Some were in cists which were destroyed before observation and measurement; and others were in pits. Unspecified animal remains were also found.

Two hut floors, one with a clay hearth, were revealed in cross-section and may be contemporary with, or later than, the interments (S Cruden 1956).

The sites of both groups of burials are now within the Dounreay Atomic Establishment. The first is discovered by a small playing field; the second was indicated by Mr Carmichael, but the excavation has been back-filled (information from D Carmichael, General Secretary, Dounreay Atomic Establishment) Another interment was exposed by bull-dozer excavaton at NC 985 670 in 1966. It may have been in a cist but damage was extensive and the position of the bones was uncertain. The remains are in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS, J E Burns 1966).

Visited by OS (N K B) 20 November 1964; Information from I McIvor, MoW TS report, undated.

Name Book 1873; S Cruden 1956; J E Burns 1966.

The interment exposed in 1966 was found adjacent to the NE side of the former croft of Craigton, now demolished, at approximately NC 9815 6690.

Visited by OS (J B) 7 September 1980.

It is possible that Miss Burns' grid reference is correct for the burial but that some 300 yards to the W was where the lime-kiln was found (see NC96NE 50) and the OS surveyor acquired confused siting information.

Visited by RCAHMS (JLD) 19 October 1988.

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