MHG13310 - Prehistoric Pine Stumps - Loch Farlary


During peat cutting, in situ remains of Scots pine bearing the tool marks of prehistoric axes were recovered from near Loch Farlary.

Type and Period (1)

  • FINDSPOT (Middle Bronze Age to Late Bronze Age - 1500 BC? to 551 BC?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

In 1993, a peat-cutter, Bruce Field, working on the blanket peat bank he rented from the Sutherland Estate by Loch Farlary, above Golspie in Sutherland, reported to Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Scotland several pieces of pine wood bearing axe marks. Their depth in the peat suggested the cut marks to be prehistoric. <1>

The cut marked trees died before metal work was introduced to Britain, however they were cut in all instances by metal axes; the timber was worked after the trees had died, and probably long after. The facets left by the axes indicated middle to late Bronze Age, but also Iron Age dates. Cutting probably took place at different times in the context of peat cutting, as the timbers were probably buried by peat. <2>

Work was undertaken to understand the environmental context of these unique archaeological finds, which was published in 2008. This work involved a programme of dating, including radiocarbon dating (see table 2). <2> The archaeological interpretation was published in 2007. <1>

Pinewood stumps with cut marks from Loch Farlary are listed in the NMS catalogue under Acc. No. 1995.96. <3>

Golspie Museum also had cut marked tree stumps from the site. <4>

See also the link below to the Scottish Radiocarbon Database for radiocarbon dates.

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NC 7744 0495 (4m by 4m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC70SE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish GOLSPIE

Finds (2)

  • PLANT REMAINS (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • PLANT REMAINS (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (3)

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