MHG13079 - Possible Hut Circle - Gleann Leireag (Glenlearaig)


A possible hut circle at Gleann Leireag.

Type and Period (1)

  • HUT CIRCLE? (Neolithic to Late Iron Age - 4000 BC? to 560 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Surveyed by Assynt's Hidden Lives project in November 2009. An area of stone, roughly sub-oval in plan. Very heavily overgrown with moss and bracken. The putative hut-circle consists of large stones c.0.6m by 0.4m roughly piled together. Little evidence can be seen of construction, and the identification as a hut-circle must remain uncertain. 50m to the E lies an earth/stone boundary running from the river up the hill to the N. The wall curves, standing up to a maximum of 1.1m high and a 1.5 in width, with an almost vertical side to the W and curved bank to the east. The boundary is of earth and gathered stone construction. <1>

Surveyed by Historic Assynt. In amongst the remains of a shieling, on a ridge above the burn is a degraded sub-circular stone structure with an internal diameter between 11.8m and 12.5m and with walls between 1m and 2m thick. This was surveyed at 1:100. The walling is better preserved around the south, west and north quadrants but the eastern quadrant has been almost completely robbed. A small pen, store or kiln has been built into the outer walling to the northeast. The whole structure could be a ruined animal enclosure, but the shape, size and location, degraded state of the walls and signs of later modification also suggest the possible remains of a substantial round house of Iron Age date (500BC – 500AD) or a little earlier. Against this interpretation recent analysis of peat cores in and around the shieling did not indicate any sustained human occupation in prehistory. So if the remains are those of a round house, it must have had a short life span. <2>

216050 930744 Glenlearaig 2 Ruigh Dorch TH002: The hut circle was revisited by A Welti, G Sleight, T Hughes and others in 2013 as part of research for a dissertation on hut circles in Wester Ross. This was part of a degree course overseen by Aberdeen University. This circular stone structure is in fair condition. The site is on a low ridge above and 30m from a stream. This stream is slow moving with deep pools and is surrounded by marshy land. Possibly the low lying area was once a lochan. The site is near to a track which leads in a NW/SE direction from Loch Nedd to Tumore. There are many signs of previous cultivation with field walls, clearance cairns and shieling huts in the vicinity. (Refer to SRP report on Ruigh Dorch shieling (NC16059 30739). The HC is within a large enclosure bounded by a field wall. Vegetation in the surrounding landscape is a mixture of heather bracken and grass with some woodland. Inside the structure vegetation is mainly grass with some bracken. The site is 2000m from the sea loch, Loch Nedd and 600m from freshwater loch, Loch Uidh na h larna. Views from the site are limited inland. The platform is built up from a natural terrace on the low ridge and has massive bank revetment to the western walling. Most of the eastern arc of the wall has been robbed. The wall is double skinned with average internal diameter 11.45m, external diameter 15.1m, thickness 2.2m and maximum height 0.3m. The entrance may have been in the eastern quadrant where stone has been robbed. A later small pen has been built into the NE walling and there are footings of two further small pens outside the HC to the South. TH002 is at a distance of 3000m from JSS001 (see MHG60850). Midway between TH002 and JSS001 is a shieling hut (NC17879 30170) and a possible platform (NC17761 30204). <3> <4>

[Note: a database was set up as part of research for the dissertation and was subsequently expanded as an extension of the We Digs Project (see website link below). The full access database can be made available to enquirers/researchers if requested - contact HER for details].

GIS spatial data amended in 2019 to location as shown on 2009 APs. <5>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NC 1604 3075 (24m by 24m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC13SE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish ASSYNT

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (1)

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