MHG11733 - Cists, Achinchanter


Two short cists containing the scant remains of crouched burials and a number of finds.

Type and Period (1)

  • SHORT CIST (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NH79SE 13 7982 9026.

(NH 798 902) (OS 6" map annotated by OGS Crawford) Two short cists, set close together but at an angle, were found December 1938 during deep-ploughing by Robert Gunn on Achinchanter farm at north end of a crescentic moraine known as 'Cnoc-na- caorach' - Hill of the sheep. The cists were composed of massive slabs. Little remained of the crouched burials, but one cist contained a food-vessel, a barbed-and-tanged flint arrow-head and a fragment of bronze 0.5" long and about 1/16" in diameter suggestive of part of a pin.
Large, rounded stones, apparently not native to moraine, which have been ploughed up to surface indicate that cists have at one time been covered by a cairn. The cists are still in situ, but owing to erosion are only a few inches below surface.
J M Davidson 1940. <1>

The find spot of these cists at NH 7982 9026 was pointed out by Mr Maclennan (W Maclennan, Level Crossing Cottage, Dornoch) who saw them shortly after discovery. Now no trace of them and no indication of a cairn at site which is regularly ploughed.
Surveyed at 1/2500. Visited by OS (A A) 29 March 1971.

The food vessel, restored, is in Dunrobin Museum (Acc No. 1938.1) Info from TS of Catalogue of Dunrobin Museum, by A S Henshall. It is of Yorkshire Vase type, and the barbed-and-tanged arrowhead, which has serrated edges, is of Conygar type.
H S Green 1980. <2>

During a walkover survey in November 2004 the cists were clearly visible on the surface in a patch of grassland left unploughed by the farmer. One of the covering slabs appeared to have been dragged several metres from its original position.
The ridge, or crescent moraine, SW and parallel to the ridge on which the cist burials are placed was covered in bushes at the time making accurate survey difficult. However the proximity and similarity of the two ridges suggests that the obscured ridge could have been used for the same purpose as its neighbour. <3>

The food vessel was catalogued during an inventory of Dunrobin Castle Museum's collection in 2019 by ARCH. Listed under Acc. No. 1938.1. It is on display in case 28, shelf D. The barbed and tanged arrowhead said to be in the Museum was not located, but it may have been mixed in in the display of barbed and tanged arrowheads. <4>

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NH 7982 9026 (10m by 10m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH79SE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish DORNOCH

Finds (3)

  • VESSEL (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • BARBED AND TANGED ARROWHEAD (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • PIN? (Bronze Age - 2400 BC? to 551 BC?)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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