MHG11959 - Portnancon


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • HUT CIRCLE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Scheduled area revised August 2004 - HAW 9/2004

(NC 4282 6129) Earth House (NR) OS 6"map, (1961)
'An Leabaidh-fholaich' - the Hiding Place (Name Book 1874) - or 'An Tigh Fo Thalaidh' (OS 6"map, 2nd ed., 1908) - an apparently meaningless name, which may be for 'An Tigh Fo Thalaimh' - the House below the Ground - is a souterrain which was cleared and drained by Buxton between 1927 and 1935. The entrance was blocked by a slab 3ft 6ins long and 2ft 6ins high which now lies beside it, and the flight of twelve stone steps which led down into the gallery had been infilled by earth and stones. The gallery itself was 27ft long and 4ft 4ins to 5ft 5ins high; and the walls of undressed stone rose in an outward curve so that the width across the floor was 4ft 3ins, half-way up it was 5ft and at the roof, where it was spanned by stone lintels, it was 3ft 5ins. The end chamber was 4ft 9ins high and 5ft 7ins wide and at the NE corner was a hollow in the floor 4ft in diameter and about 2ft deep, which may have been used to drain the gallery. No relics were found but, after draining, the floor deposit yielded fragments of bone which were, however, too small for identification.
Name Book 1874; R J Buxton 1935.

The entrance passage to the souterrain measures 3m long and 0.8m wide. The gallery could not be examined as the floor is again flooded but it could be seen that the walls and roof were in good condition. A mound, 1m high, covers the souterrain.
Visited by OS (J L D) 5 April 1960.

The souterrain is as described in the preceding reports. It has been entered from within a hut circle in SE arc but all that remains of latter is an arc of walling extending for about 4.5m on either side of entrance to souterrain. The wall is overlaid by debris (presumably cleared from souterrain) but it appears to have been about 2.0m wide, with five or six large stones on edge defining the inner face. The majority of the hut has been destroyed by the road and a ruinous field wall parallel to the road.
Revised at 1:10,000. Visited by OS (N K B) 12 May 1980.

It has been suggested by HS that this site would benefit from some management works to enhance its visitor interest. The souterrain is hidden by dense bracken in high Summer and Autumn. The bracken should be controlled to allow easier access, and to reveal the remains of the associated hut-circle.
This view is also taken by the "Laid Grazings Clerk" who will seek advice in advance of developing the "Laid Heritage and Geology Trail". See assoc. docs. File.

J Aitken : 11/04/01.

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NC 4281 6129 (100m by 100m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC46SW
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish DURNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.