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Cairn (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Millhaugh

Classification Cairn (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Parkside

Canmore ID 77382

Site Number NO01SW 41

NGR NO 00962 13975

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Dunning
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NO01SW 41 010 140.

A circular burial mound, 20m in diameter and c1.8m high is situated on the summit of a low ridge, crowned with mature trees, within an uncultivated area in an arable field.

Sponsor: HS.

G J Barclay 1991.

Scheduled (with NO01SW 69) as Millhaugh, burial mound, enclosure and cropmarks.

[The NGR of NO 010 140 cited previously falls outwith the scheduled area].

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 16 February 2001.


Excavation (10 June 2014 - 23 June 2014)

NO 0100 1400 The small-scale excavation of the Millhaugh Cairn, just W of Dunning, was undertaken, 10–23 June 2014, as part of the SERF Project. The objectives were to confirm the nature of this prominent mound, help in our understanding of the barrow cropmark record in the project study area,

and monitor possible tree root and plough damage to the monument. The mound was identified by Gordon Barclay as a possible barrow or cairn (DES 1991, 73) and is visible from the nearby B8062 road. It is roughly circular in plan, measuring 20m in diameter, with a maximum height of

1.8m, is asymmetrical in profile, more substantial on the S side, and topped by a number of mature trees, some of which are dead or dying. During excavations, the first ever topographic survey of this monument was undertaken by SERF team members.

We excavated an 11m x 2m slot trench running from near the centre of the mound to beyond its edge on the SE side of the monument. It quickly became clear that the mound consisted of densely packed stone cairn material, and that it was indeed an artificial mound. We investigated a 6 x 1m slot to the base of the monument, and identified that it appears to have been constructed in one phase with a maximum height 1m above the old land surface. A single possible sub-circular cut feature was found in a baulk towards the centre of the monument. The edge of the monument was defined by a substantial kerb of large rounded boulders laid end-to-end, with a rough secondary kerb just behind it. At some point after construction, the monument developed a turf capping.

No diagnostic artefacts were found, although two pieces of worked flint were discovered adjacent to the kerb stones. Our excavations were unable to identify any evidence for burial activity here, although we were unable to excavate too close to the centre due to trees and root activity. The monument was in general not too badly disturbed by roots, although we found evidence for animal burrowing in the turf cap. Beyond the edge of the monument, we were satisfied that no ditch was present and that the current ploughing regime is not damaging the monument. Millhaugh was clearly a substantial prehistoric cairn, although we will have to await post-excavation analysis to see if we can date construction of the monument.

Archive: University of Glasgow and RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Historic Scotland and University of Glasgow

Kenneth Brophy and Helen Green – University of Glasgow

(Source: DES)


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