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Record details

Type of record:Monument
Name:Rubh an Dunain, chambered cairn


A Hebridean-type round chambered cairn with a polygonal chamber, antechamber and short passage. The cairn was partially excavated in 1931-2.


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Grid Reference:NG 3933 1636
Map Sheet:NG31NE
Civil Parish:BRACADALE
Geographical Area:SKYE AND LOCHALSH

Monument Types

Associated Finds

Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 901: Rubh'an Dunain, chambered cairn, Soay Sound

Other References/Statuses

  • Historic Environment Record: MHG4901
  • NMRS NUMLINK Reference: 11022
  • NMRS Record Details: NG31NE2 SKYE, RUBH' AN DUNAIN
  • Old SMR Reference Number: NG31NE0002

Full description

NG31NE 2 3934 1636.

(NG 3934 1636) Chambered Cairn (NR)
OS 6" map, (1965)

A Hebridean type round cairn with a polygonal chamber with antichamber and short passage, excavated by Scott in 1931-2 and left open.
The cairn, of large rounded stones, has a diameter of 62' to 66' and now stands 11' in maximum height. The S side has been heavily robbed, the peristalith and façade on this side being almost entirely destroyed. Where undisturbed, the cairn is covered with turf and heather.
The peristalith, revealed in a number of cuttings, consists of orthostats set 3' to 4' apart and linked with walling. The cairn material extends some 9' beyond the peristalith.
The forecourt is V-shaped in plan and measures about 24' across by 10' deep. Five feet in front of the entrance, there are two slabs lying at right angles to the main axis, the larger being wedged up to give a horizontal surface.
Finds, most of which are in the NMAS, included an N.4 beaker (EO 382), and from beneath an orthostat of the chamber, a possibly human foundation deposit.
W L Scott 1932; 1934; D L Clarke 1970; A S Henshall 1972. <1>-<4>

Thumbnail photo by J Duberley, 23/07/02.

This is an impressive cairn, with the entrance passage and central chamber accessible showing the high quality of the construction. However Lindsey Scott's excavations were clearly left open and the forecourt seems to have been partly obscured by his spoil heaps. A trench seems to have been opened into the cairn from the west and the roof of the central chamber removed. There has been some collapse of the entrance area but it now appears to be stable.

Flint scrapers; Beaker; Pottery sherds found in Lindsey Scott's excavations now included in this record and separate record deleted.

JW visited in the company of M.Wildgoose, S.Birch and M.Carmichael on 30/5/02.

Add to bibliography
Armit, Ian 1996. The Archaeology of Skye and Western Isles. Pp. 72-4.

Neolithic pottery was found in the excavated forecourt, so Period should also be Neolithic. <5>

An Rath Chruineach (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG15143.

Wood, J, Comments by John Wood, Senior HC Archaeologist (Verbal Communication). SHG23680.

RCAHMS, 1928, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Ninth report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the Outer Hebrides, Skye and the Small Isles (Text/Report). SHG2656.

Ritchie and Harman, J N G and M, 1985, Exploring Scotland's heritage: Argyll and the Western Isles, 153-4, no. 90 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2708.

<1> Scott, W L, 1932, 'Rudh' an Dunain chambered cairn, Skye', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 66 1931-2, p.183-213, 183-213 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1457.

<2> Scott, W L, 1934, 'External features of Rudh' an Dunain chambered cairn', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 68 1933-4, p.194-9, 194-9; plan, illust (Text/Publication/Article). SHG782.

<3> Clarke, D L, 1970, Beaker pottery of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 2, 518, No. 1675 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2051.

<4> Henshall, A S, 1972, The chambered tombs of Scotland, Volume 2 (Text/Publication/Monograph). SHG358.

<5> Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), 2012, Digital site gazetteer and archive for ARCH Community Timeline Project: Broadford, Site 10 (Collection/Project Archive). SHG25668.

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