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between 12:00 Friday 15th December and 12:00 Monday 18th December



Stone Setting (Neolithic) - (Bronze Age)

Site Name Achkinloch

Classification Stone Setting (Neolithic) - (Bronze Age)

Alternative Name(s) Achavanich

Canmore ID 8271

Site Number ND14SE 2

NGR ND 1880 4178

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

ND14SE 2 1880 4178.

(ND 1880 4178) Standing Stones (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1975)

A setting of stones in the form of a truncated oval, open to the SE, which shows no sign of ever having been a completed oval. It measures 225ft long by 100ft and may originally have comprised about sixty stones of which about a third have either weathered or been removed. The stones are thick slabs of flag, standing to an average height of 5ft and set at intervals of about 8ft with their broad faces towards each aother, not along the line.

A cist measuring 5ft by 3ft 9ins, formed by four slabs set on edge stands against the most northerly stone of the setting.

This monument, which can be compared only with the example at Broubster (ND06SW 19), should probably be assigned to the earlier part of the Bronze Age.

J Anderson 1886; RCAHMS 1911; R W Feachem 1963.

An unusual setting of standing stones generally as described and planned. One or two stones along the E side outside the uprights, particularly in the NE corner suggest that there may have been a retaining kerb on this side, which is on the edge of an escarpment. The cist, roughly oriented N-S, is of the dimensions noted by the RCAHMS (1911), but is not composed of four slabs. The E side is composed of four upright slabs and one similar slab on the W side suggests that this side has been the same. There is no trace of the end stones. Elsewhere the tops of a few other stones in a similar position immediately outside the line of uprights suggests the presence of similar structures as yet uncovered.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (I S S) 20 April 1972.

A horse-shoe setting possibly comparable to the arrangement known within some stone circles, including Croft Moraig (NN74NE 12) and Broubster (ND06SW 19) as well as Stonehenge, although its opening to the SSE instead of the SW is untypical.

H A W Burl 1973.

Thirty-six flat, thin stones and snapped-off stumps. In fine weather the conspicuous Mt Morven is visible in the S over the nearby ridge and seems to be indicated by some of the stones. It may well be an astronomical foresight.

E W MacKie 1975.

No change to the previous field report.

Visited by OS (N K B) 6 December 1982.


Publication Account (1996)

A remarkable setting of large stones, arranged in an unusual way as a long U-shape with one open end. Some 36 slabs or stumps survive, but some stones are missing, and there may originally have been around 54. The average size of the stones is about 1.2m to 1.5m, and the tallest is nearly 2m high. Many of the stones have been taller, but their tops have weathered and split off. The broad faces of the stones are set at right angles to the perimeter of the setting, in contrast to the practice at stope circles. Only one comparable monument is known, a ruinous U-shaped setting at Broubster, Caithness (ND 047608). The purpose of these settings is unknown, but their date is thought to be bronze age from their general similarity to stone circles.

Just outside the stones, close to their northeast corner and also along the east side, are some small slabs set on edge, which may be the remains of cist graves, perhaps added to the monument long after its initial purpose was forgotten. A short distance southeast of the stones, on a low hillock, are the remains of an earl ier neolithic round cairn with traces of a central chamber.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Highlands’, (1995).


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