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Enclosure(S) (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric), Settlement (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Achins

Classification Enclosure(S) (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric), Settlement (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Sandside Burn

Canmore ID 7354

Site Number NC96SE 32

NGR NC 960 635

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

NC96SE 32 960 635.

Centred at NC 960 636 there is a large enclosure formed by a heather-covered earth-and-stone bank 0.3m high and measuring 170m from N to S by 62.0m transversely; 38m SW of the enclosure there is a hut circle, with heather-covered walling measuring 0.3m high, about 7m in diameter. The entrance, 1.4m wide, is in the SW.

About 100m SE of this is another hut circle, 7.0m in diameter, with a mutilated bank 0.3m high.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

There is now no trace of the enclosure and hut circle noted in 1960, 50m N of the latter hut circle.

Visited by OS (R D) 26 November 1964 and (J L D) 24 May 1960; Visible 106G/Scot/UK 75: 4360-1 (flown 1946)

(A: NC 9601 6352 B: NC 9608 6345 C: NC 9607 6350) Hut Circles (NR) (NC 960 636 Enclosures (NR)

OS 6"map, (1963)

Two hut circles (A and B), a homestead (C), and two adjacent enclosures.

'A', on a slight rise, measures aproximately 9.5m in diameter over a heather-covered wall spread at most pronounced, in the E half, 2.0m broad by 0.3m high; the entrance is no longer evident.

'B' measures about 6.0m in diameter internally; the wall has practically disappeared in the WNW half, and elsewhere is reduced to a peat and heather-covered spread of 1.5m by 0.2m high. The entrance is no longer evident.

'C': Contrary to the last statement by previous OS field surveyor (RD), the hut circle and enclosures do exist as a homestead, comprising a hut circle within an oval enclosure. The hut measures some 11.5m diameter over a wall reduced to a peat-covered, obscure spread; the entrance is no longer evident. The enclosure measures an estimated 47m from N to S by 39m transversely. Its wall has been destroyed in the S, but presumably had skirted the N foot of the knoll at that point; elsewhere the wall is discernible as a slight, heather and peat-covered ridge with occasional stone protruding. A definite break, 3m wide, in the line of the enclosure wall in the WNW suggests an entrance.

The two adjacent enclosures mainly encompass the rocky summit area of a N-S ridge, contrasting with the open moorland plain occupied by the hut circles and the homestead. The enclosures measure approximately 80m N to S by 65m and 90m N to S by 55m; their heather-overgrown walling generally exhibits coursed small to medium stone. The southern of the two enclosures extends from the ridge on to the moorland plain, and in the S salient incorporates the S half of a boat-shaped structure 19m along the main axis (E-W) by 9m transversely within a heather-covered wall spread 2.0m broad on average and up to 0.3m high. Inside the E end of the structure is a heather-covered stony mound of uncertain purpose, 3m in diameter by 0.5m high. Some 10m to the N is a stone clearance heap. The enclosures and the boat-shaped structure are undoubtedly contemporary.

In conclusion, a much later date is suggested for the two northernmost enclosures and the attendant structure, but which period remains conjectural.

Revised at 1:10560.

Visited by OS (J M) 17 November 1981.

Not all the previously recorded features, situated on the ridge to the W of the Sandside Burn, were located during a rapid survey of the Sandside Estate. A high voltage pylon (one foot of which has partially destroyed a clearance cairn) has been constructed in the vicinity of hut-circle and enclosure (C) (previously described as a homestead) whilst heavy machinery has disturbed the ground to the N.

C Dagg 13 October 1998; NMRS MS 1008/3, no.23


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