MHG11977 - Hut circle etc, The Ord


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Type and Period (1)

  • HUT CIRCLE (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)

Protected Status

Full Description

Settlement (NR) (18 features shown). OS 1:10,000 map, (1970)

RCAHMS mention at least 18 hut circles and enclosures numerous mounds and walls. RCAHMS 1911. <1>

A total of 17 hut circles and enclosures were located.
Visited by OS (W D J) 19 June 1963.

A scattered settlement of 22 hut circles, 13 of which are oval, accompanied by a system of plots covering 43.3 hectares on ridge of The Ord. The plots are formed by low lynchets and banks, on which generally large clearance cairns are piled. R W Feachem 1973. <2>

On gently undulating N E & SE slopes of The Ord in open moorland, is a settlement of 18 huts (A-T) within an associated field system. In the main the huts are poorly preserved, frequently denuded, and overgrown with peat, heather or bracken. They fall into two broad categories; there are 11 huts of simple form, varying from 5.5-10m internal diameter within a tumbled wall of earth and stone up to 0.5m high, and spread to 2m-2.5m broad all round. In hut 'G' where inner and outer facing stones on edge are discernible, the precise wall thickness is 1.4m and this would appear to be the average for this type of hut. They are circular except 'G', which is oval, 8.5m by 7.4m internally. This example has an entrance in the NW where the position of a single portal stone suggests a splay; the other huts have their entrance in the SE arc,visible as a lowering in the wall. The position of the entrance to huts 'E' and 'L' is uncertain; in the former,stone clearance heaps overlie the east and west arcs.
The second category of hut includes D, J, N, R, S and T, and probably B. Four are oval oriented NW-SE, the others circular; all are of more massive construction with a thicker wall which appears to contain a greater ratio of stone to earth.
The internal dimensions vary from 9m diameter to 14.5m by 12m, the tumbled wall surviving to 0.8m mean height, and spread to 3m broad. (The actual wall width of hut 'J' is about 1.8m and this is probably the average). In at least four of the huts there is a distinct widening of the wall to about 4.5m spread at the entrance which in each case is in the SE arc on the longer axis. These entrances may be clubbed or splayed but vegetation obscures details. Hut 'N' within an 18th/19th century enclosure associated with run-rig is mutilated and overlaid in SE arc by the ruinous enclosure wall.
The field system is best-preserved in the extreme south, and for about 10 hectares in N, where well-defined lynchets and tumbled boulder walls incorporating clearance heaps delineate small irregularly shaped cultivation plots, average size 30m by 20m. The area between the hill summit and the bell cairn to the S (NC50NE 38) is occupied by post-medieval enclosures and run-rig with associated clearance heaps which has destroyed the original pattern of cultivation. The one example (hut 'E') of clearance overlying the wall indicates that not all huts and cultivation plots are contemporary.
(Of 18 features shown on OS 1:10,000, 3 are disproved as they are fortuitous arrangements of clearance and lynchets, and 3 (N, P and T) are new discoveries).
Surveyed at 1:10,000. Visited by OS (N K B) 28 July 1976.

Excavation and survey in March 1977 in advance of the erection of a new BBC transmitter near the summit of The Ord at NC 5737 0561, revealed a number of what appeared to be plough marks more likely to be of post-medieval rather than prehistoric date; and a ruined wall running from the adjacent chambered cairn (NC50NE 16). Four shallow gulleys found under the plough marks may only have been an earlier phase of rig cultivation. A single unworked flint flake was found on the surface of Layer 3. Part of the extensive field system between the summit and the road was examined. It comprised many small clearance cairns, terraces, and ruined dykes. Near the top of the survey area were the remains of 2 small hut circles with internal diameters of 5.2 and 8m.
Info from M J Yates, 1977 (see archive MS/180).

A further hut circle, 'U', visible as a low platform, was located at NC 5784 0517. The ill-defined hut measures 10.5m SE-NW by 8m within a low wall spread to 1.5m. The entrance in the SE has a large set stone on its S side.
All surveyed at 1/2500. Visited by OS (JB) 15 March 1979.

NC 580 051 'V': A well preserved oval hut circle with a turf covered rubble wall up to 3m wide and 1.1m high, enclosing an area of 10.2m EW by 11.8m NS, with a slightly 'clubbed' entrance on S.
'W': 20m to SE of 'V' are the denuded remains of a small oval hut circle measuring overall 10.5m NW-SE by 8.5m transversely with an indistinct wall up to 2.3m wide. The entrance probably lay on the SE.
'X': 20m to S of 'W', another denuded small hut circle measuring internally 5.8m EW by 7.0m NS within denuded walling up to 1.8m wide. A later clearance cairn overlies the inner edge of the wall on the N.
NC 576 056 'Y': Situated on a terrace, a small hut circle lies within a larger hut circle. The former measures internally 6m EW x 7.3m NS within a rubble wall 1.3m wide. The entrance lies on the S. The larger hut circle measures 15m in diameter over a denuded spread rubble wall up to 3m wide. Its entrance has been utilised by the smaller hut circle.
D W Ross 1987. <3>

Management plan, agreed in 2008. <4>

Topographic survey was conducted across this area of the Ord in Spring 2010. A number of features were noted, and brief descriptions are given in the Appendix to the report. This included rectangular buildings, sub-rectangular buildings, possible hut circles and a circular structure, either a small shielding hut or possibly a cairn with a robbed out middle. <5>

Sources/Archives (8)



Grid reference Centred NC 5758 0547 (1014m by 940m) (3 map features)
Map sheet NC50NE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish LAIRG

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