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Cairn(S) (Period Unassigned), Cist(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Broughwhin

Classification Cairn(S) (Period Unassigned), Cist(S) (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 9014

Site Number ND34SW 16

NGR ND 31364 41105

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

ND34SW 16 31364 41105.

(ND 3136 4112) Cairns & Cists (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1976)

A circular structure, excavated by Anderson in 1866, and comprising a stone wall, 13 to 14ft internal diameter, and 3 to 4ft thick. From the N an inner wall, 2ft 6ins thick and 1ft 5ins high, ran segmentally for about 9ft. Between the end of this wall and the outer was found a human skeleton laid on a stone slab, 2ft by 9ins. On the undisturbed soil beneath the structure small fragments of pottery and wood charcoal were found.

In an arc to the NW lie four short cists, one of which may have originally been covered by a small cairn, which were excavated prior to 1865. Between them, a few thin stone slabs protrude.

It is possible that this is the site referred to in the ONB (1871) as 'a number of small hillocks of loose stones and earth some of which have been opened, discovering small stone graves of slabs of stones about 4 1/2 to 5ft in length. Remains of skeletons found in some of them'. RCAHMS 1911, visited 1910; J Anderson 1869; Name Book 1871; Information from Sir Henry Dryden and Mr Anderson, NMAS.

A circular, stone-built feature and four adjacent cists. That this structure is a hut circle as asserted by the DoE is doubtful due to the close proximity of the cists, and of the presence nearby of stone rows and other cairns (ND34SW 4 and ND34SW 18 -20, 23), and also the unsuitability of the area for cultivation. It is probably the remains of a small burial cairn.

Nearby and to the N of the group is a small heather-covered cairn, 10.0m in diameter and 0.6m high, which has been partly excavated, but not noted by the RCAHMS. It contains the remains of a cist-like structure about 1.2m long and 0.4m wide, oriented NE-SW, with no end-slabs.

Resurveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (N K B) 2 May 1967.

The structure excavated by Anderson is comparable, in some respects, to the round cairns at Keiss (ND36SW 5) and Ackergill (ND35SW 12), and together with the covered graves or cists and the low oval cairn, could represent a pre-Viking Iron Age cemetery combining circular burial cairns with horizontally coursed kerbs and adjacent cists. It is admitted that the evidence for the nature of the structure and of its relationship to the cists and the other oval cairn is ambiguous.

P Ashmore 1981.

Cairns with cists, long cairns noted by Mercer not evident.

R J Mercer 1985; J L Davidson and A S Henshall 1991.

Two cairns and four cists are situated on the heather-grown terrace immediately to the E of the Cairn of Get (ND34SW 4). The northern cairn occupies a low rise and measures 9m in diameter and up to 1m in height. No surface stone is visible, but a shallow depression in the top of the mound, measuring at least 2m from NE to SW by 0.8m transversely, probably indicates the position of a cist. The second cairn is situated on the leading edge of the terrace, some 30m to the SSE, and correlates with that excavated by Anderson in 1866. Overall, it measures 9.8m from N to S by 8.8m transversely, but the body of the cairn has been reduced to little more than a broad band of stones 0.6m in height around the margin, within which the SE end-slab of a cist is visible. Of the four cists, none is preserved intact. Two comprise a single upright slab forming one side of a roughly rectangular hollow, but the best-preserved, lying immediately to the S of the path leading up to the Cairn of Get, is only missing its NE end. This cist appears to be set on a slight rise and measures 1.3m from NE to SW by 0.7m transversely and 0.4m in depth; a possible cover-slab lies in the heather 1.5m to the SW.

(YARROWS04 61-66)

Visited by RCAHMS (ARG, ATW) 16 June 2004


Measured Survey (10 August 2004)

RCAHMS surveyed the chambered cairn at Cairn o'Get (ND34SW 4) on 10 August 2004 with plane table and self-reducing alidade producing a site plan of the cairn and surrounding features, including cists and cairns (ND34SW16) and a limekiln and quarries (ND34SW 397), at a scale of 1:500. The plan was later redrawn in vector graphics software, with illustrations produced at scales of 1:500 and 1:1000.


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