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'Cnoc Na H-uiseig', Lower Dounreay

Chambered Cairn (Neolithic), Axehead (Sandstone), Beaker

Site Name 'Cnoc Na H-uiseig', Lower Dounreay

Classification Chambered Cairn (Neolithic), Axehead (Sandstone), Beaker

Canmore ID 7300

Site Number NC96NE 6

NGR NC 9969 6772

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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 6 9969 6772.

(NC 9969 6772) Cnoc na h-Uiseig (NAT)

Pict's House (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map, Caithness, 2nd ed., (1876)

Cnoc na h-Wiseig (Cairn) (NR)

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

'Lower Dounreay' or 'Cnoc na Huseig' (A S Henshall 1963), 'The Fairies Mound', 'The Lairacks Hillock' of 'Cnoc na h-Uiseig' (A J H Edwards 1929) is an Orkney-Cromarty short horned cairn, excavated in 1928 by Edwards. Across the centre between the horns it measured about 58ft and along the horns 70ft. In 1910 part of a surrounding wall-face of thin horizontal slabs could be seen on the E side of the NE horn (RCAHMS 1911); in 1958 a small section could be seen along the NE side (A S Henshall 1963). The entrance was between the horns on the SE side. The irregularly-shaped chamber with a rounded end was carefully built of courses of small slabs, divided and strengthened by eight upright projecting slabs set into the walls.

Among the debris of flat slabs which filled the chamber a secondary long cist had been constructed, 3ft below the surface of the cairn and lying NNE-SSW obliquely across the innermost compartment.

From the chamber came Neolithic (National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland [NMAS]: EO 358) and Beaker (EO 357, 360-1) pottery, an ox phalange with transverse perforation (EO 359), an axe of micaceous sandstone (EO 356) and unburnt bones representing five bodies. From the long cist came a male skeleton, and fragments of Beaker pottery (EO 360). The remains of many types of animals, two bird species, and two oyster shell fragments were found on the chamber floor. (Scheduled as 'Cnoc na h-Uiseig'. Chambered Cairn.)

RCAHMS 1911, visited 1910; A J H Edwards 1929; Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1930; Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1934; A S Henshall 1963.

This chambered cairn, a grassy mound, has been mutilated large-scale construction work and is now slightly rectangular in shape, measuring 22.0m E-W and 17.5m transversely, by about 2.5m high. The horns are barely distinguishable on the E side. The soil-tip to the S formerly overlay the S segment, but the cairn has been 'cleaned-up' and a high mesh-fence now encloses it.

Resurveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (N K B) 20 November 1964.

(NC 9969 6772) Cnoc na h-Uiseig (NAT), Chambered Cairn (NR)

OS 6" map, (1967)

The beaker fragments from this site, in the NMAS, are classified as of All-over Corded, Undecorated, and indeterminate types.

D L Clarke 1970.

No change to the previous field report.

Visited by OS (J B) 7 September 1981.


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