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Borag Knowe

Cairn (Period Unassigned), Enclosure (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle (Prehistoric)

Site Name Borag Knowe

Classification Cairn (Period Unassigned), Enclosure (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 7341

Site Number NC96SE 21

NGR NC 975 629

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NC96SE 21 975 629.

NC 9750 6292. On Borag Knowe are the remains of a large enclosure formed by a boulder wall. The enclosure is incomplete, only the N half being easily traceable. On the S side of the knoll, the fragmentary remains of a similar wall exist for some 70m. This part seems to have turned sharply westwards at its N end to meet the main wall at a large grass-covered pile of stones, possibly a clearance heap; or it may have continued northwards to meet another outer fragment of boulder wall, also terminating in a pile of stones. This latter stretch curves westwards for about 50m but stops short of the main enclosure by some 15m. It no doubt continued to meet the wall at a break in its N apex. This break, 4.0m wide, appears to be an original entrance.

Returning to the S fragment of outer walling; it probably curved W and then NW to meet the end of the main enclosure. On the summit of the knoll, and about 30m from the S outer wall, is a circle of stones, 6m in diameter with a number of loose stones within it. This would at first appear to be the remains of a cairn, but there are some curious features about it. In the centre is a small dressed stone standing 0.4m high and 0.3m across each side. Just within the outer ring, on the SE segment, is another erect stone, 0.5m high. In places around the perimeter there is the impression of a double ring of kerb stones 0.6m apart. This would tend to indicate that the structure is a hut circle. However, there is too much confusion of stones around the site to be able to come to a definite conclusion. Some 5.0m S of this structure are the vestiges of a possible turf-banked hut circle, 8.0m in diameter; it is not well-defined; 3.0m to the W is a curious small circle of stones 3.0m in diameter with a small cairn, 1.0m in diameter and 0.1m high, within it. About 22.0m SW of the summit is an enclosure measuring 14 by 12.0m, formed by boulders standing on edge as in the outer walls. The entrance, in the W, is 1.3m wide and flanked by two large stones. On the NW side of this enclosure a low pile of stones abuts on the outside. It has a rough ring of stones on its perimeter and a massive boulder on the W side. It is 4.5m in diameter, but it cannot be determined if this is a hut circle with stones fallen into it, or simply another clearance heap; 12.0m to the S is a large standing stone 1.2m high by 0.8m by 0.5m. Its purpose is uncertain but it possibly lies on the line of where the outer wall would have curved round on the SW, and therefore may be part of that construction. To the N and E of the site are traces of old fields. Visited by OS (J L D) 24 May 1960.

(NC 975 629) Enclosures (NR)

OS 6"map, (1963)

The large enclosure around Borag Knowe is as described and planned by previous OS surveyor (J L D). The 'circle of stones' on the summit (A on plan) appears to be a cairn surviving as a low pile of rubble stones, much disturbed and containing the footings of a crude later structure. Some 5.0m to the S is a definite hut circle (B on plan), now overgrown with heather. It measures 9.5m overall diameter with a wall up to 0.3m high and spread to 2.0m. There is an entrance in the SE. The 'curious small circle' noted by previous OS surveyor (C on plan) was identified but appears to have no archaeological significance. The enclosure (D) is as described and is of similar construction and state of preservation to the large enclosure encircling the knoll. The relationship between these latter features and the hut circle is uncertain. (See type site NC96SE 13, also NC96SE 9, NC96SE 10, NC96SE 14, NC96SE 22, NC96SE 31, NC96SE 32. )

Hut circle surveyed at 1:10,000.

Revised at 1:10560.

Visited by OS (N K B) 16 November 1981.


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