EHG4867 - Survey and excavation - Kilearnan Hill, Sutherland



Central Excavation Unit (Scottish Development Department)


Nov 1982


Forestry ploughing prompted survey and excavation work on a hillside in the Strath of Kildonan, in Sutherland. Several monuments were investigated, including hut circles, cairns, and burnt mounds. A range of radiocarbon dates and environmental vidence was obtained. The pottery recovered, although small in quantity, falls into two distinct groups in terms of the temper used. Kilearnan Hill lies on the south side of the River Helmsdale, c. 10km inland along the Strath of Kildonan from Helmsdale. The focus for the survey and excavation lay to the east of Kilearnan Hill itself, on a peat-covered north-facing slope between the Gylable Burn and the westernmost tributary of the Oulmsdale Burn. The present vegetation is dominated by heaths, but with grasses co-dominant in some parts of the site and shrubs of bog myrtle in the poorly drained area towards the Oulmsdale Burn. The excavation strategy was, with minimal excavation, to retrieve as much information as possible about the sites on the hillside in terms of form, dating or date range, and the environment current during their use. Where possible, it was decided to investigate both ploughed and unploughed versions of the same type of monument, comparing ther esults to assess whether future excavations of already ploughed site should be considered. <1>

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Location Kilearnan Hill, Sutherland
Grid reference Centred NC 9493 1763 (993m by 1123m) (3 map features)
Map sheet NC91NW
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish KILDONAN

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

  • Burnt Mound - Kilearnan (Monument)
  • Burnt Mound - Kilearnan (Monument)
  • Burnt Mound - Kilearnan (Monument)
  • Hut Circles - Kilearnan Hill (Monument)

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Record last edited

Aug 30 2021 4:34PM

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