MHG11361 - Burnt Mound - Kilearnan


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • BURNT MOUND (Early Bronze Age to Early Iron Age - 2400 BC? to 1 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Forestry ploughing by the Forestry Commission in 1982 at Kilearnan prompted survey and excavation work led by J Barber, commissioned by Historic Buildings and Monuments (predecessor organisation to Historic Scotland). Several monuments were investigated, including hut circles, cairns, and burnt mounds. This burnt mound site appeared superficially as two low mounds which would have attracted no attention, being obscured by dense heather growth, had forestry ploughing not exposed their burnt stone core. The northwest mound (B) was 5 m in diameter and stood some 0.5 m above the surrounding terrain, while the southeast mound (A) was an oval 3.5 m by 2.5 m, rising to 0.3 m. A stream flowed immediately to the east. Investigations were limited to the southeast mound. A trench was laid out covering the full extent of this, though leaving a central baulk for reference. A shallow peat (0.05 m) was first removed. A charcoal-rich, black, sandy loam layer was exposed in the bottom of a plough furrow which cut the east side of the mound. This proved to be the primary level, overlying natural subsoil, and may have represented an initial firing. Two dumps of burnt stone overlay this, one relating to the north-west mound (B), while the other formed the core of the south-east mound (A). Both of these dumps were contained in a similar matrix, an orange gritty sand with no charcoal content. A secondary dump of burnt stone within a matrix of bleached sandy silt overlay the first two dumps. There was no charcoal associated with this context. The proximity of the stream and the level terrain suggested that the silt resulted from flooding. To the east side of the mound at this stage in its development, three separate layers of silt probably represented further flood deposits. After this, the site was evidently used again with the final upcast comprising both rounded and fire-cracked stones. The site was then abandoned and more or less completely covered by further flood deposits. The mound in this final state (but beneath the peat) appeared as a small heap of stones, all that was visible of the final upcast, surrounded by a compact, bleached, sandy silt on the north, south and east sides. Too small an area was examined for any detailed conclusions to be reached, but it seems likely that the two mounds A and B formed one entity which had been abandoned before it had developed into the classic horseshoe shape. Although no pit was located, the most likely position for this would have been between the two mounds, outwith the area if the excavation trench. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NC 9492 1814 (20m by 20m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC91NW
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish KILDONAN

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

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