MHG1017 - Hut circle or enclosure - Hill of Shebster


A hut circle or enclosure at Hill of Shebster.

Type and Period (2)

  • ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • (Alternate Type) HUT CIRCLE (Neolithic to Late Iron Age - 4000 BC? to 560 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A hut circle or enclosure at Hill of Shebster.

On a low ridge now in rough pasture, formerly cultivated, is an enclosure, 11.5m NW-SE by 10.5m within a turf-covered stony bank, 3 wide and up to 0.6m high. Two set stones, 1.3m apart, are exposed in the bank in SE arc, and in SW the bank appears to have been disturbed and is now spread to about 4.5m. Within the enclosure are a number of stones, including a massive slab on edge, 1.1m long, 0.3m wide and protruding 0.2m through the turf. No entrancs is apparent. The date and purpose of the enclosure is uncertain. The lack of an entrance and the relatively fresh appearance suggest a fairly recent structure, possibly a sheepfold, but the wall or bank is unusually thick. This may be a hut circle subsequently re-used for a different purpose. There is no trace of prehistoric-type cultivation.
Surveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (N K B) 25 November 1981.

The feature is visible in LiDAR data gathered by AOC Archaeology in 2011 as part of the mitigation for the visual impact on the archaeological landscape associated with the proposed Baillie Hill windfarm, Caithness. <1>

The site was visited and recorded by topographic survey in 2015 as part of the 'Hidden Bronze Age Landscape of Caithness Project' undertaken by AOC Archaeology Group and members of the Castletown Heritage Society with local volunteers. The project ran as a series of four week-long field schools training volunteers in techniques of field survey, systematic soil sampling and targeted excavation. Fieldwork in week one of the field school (22-27/06/2015) focussed on using LiDAR data in the field, use of GPS to create simple maps of archaeological sites and ground-truthing sites through LiDAR. In week two (13-18/07/2015) participants learned how to create accurate plans using manual taped offset and plane table survey and total station and GPS surveys. Site 44: Penannular earthen bank with scattered exposed stones on and in interior. Measures 17m diameter externally, which may be exaggerated by spread of bank towards to S and measures 7m diameter internally. An entrance in W – SW side measures 1m wide but is slightly obscured by vegetation. <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred ND 0015 6474 (26m by 26m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND06SW
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (2)

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