MHG1503 - Wag, Dail-A-Chairn


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Type and Period (2)

  • WAG (Early Iron Age - 550 BC to 1 AD)
  • (Alternate Type) HOMESTEAD (Early Iron Age - 550 BC to 1 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Dail-a-Chairn (name verified) is not a wheel-house, but a homestead or 'wag' of similar construction to that at Wagmore (ND02NW 1). It survives as a partially turf-covered mound of tumbled stone, 1.7 m high,and measures 31m NE-SW by 20m transversely. The mass of debris obscures most structural details, but the following can be identified:
(i) The outer face of an outer wall (similar to that at Wag of Forse - ND23NW 1) is exposed for a distance of 18m in the SW arc, but it may originally have circled the complex. It is composed of large blocks backed by rubble; no inner face can be seen. There is an entrance gap, 2.2m wide, with traces of a passage leading into the interior.
(ii) Oriented NE-SW are two lines of stones set upright, indicating a sub-rectangular aisled-house of indeterminate size.
(iii) To the S of the latter are four uprights and the inner face of a wall the W end of a further sub-rectangular dwelling aligned E-W, which appears to have been entered from the W end. The large size and shape of the mound would suggest further structures buried beneath stone debris. More recent stone clearance has been added on the E side.
Visited by OS (NKB) 26 October 1982.

(ND 0279 2941) Dail-a-Chairn (NAT) Wheel-house (NR)
OS 6" map, (1963).

Generally as described below. The site is a large earth- and-stone mound measuring 30m E-W by 21m transversely and 1.5m high. This aisled-house occupies the W end of the mound and measures about 21m in diameter.
Visited by OS (WDJ) 10 June 1960

Situated on the right bank of the Berriedale Water, about 3 miles above Braemore Lodge and not many yards back from the stream, are the remains of a large galleried construction. It is now much ruined and the large covering slabs have been for the most part removed, but many of the pillars which supported them in the interior are still standing. The structure has been circular, with an internal diameter of about 55ft and walls 5ft in thickness. The entrance has been from the SE through a passage some 4ft wide. In the interior are the remains of a circle of pillars placed some 5 to 6ft apart and 5ft within the inner face of the wall. Only eight pillars now remain within the circle. On the W some 5ft further in towards the centre are another two, and occupying a corresponding position relative to the circle above-mentioned on the NW is another. These possibly indicate the previous existence of an inner circle. Only one of the slabs which covered the gallery remains in situ. RCAHMS 1911, visited 1910.

ND 0279 2941) Dail-a-Chairn (Cairn) (NR) OS 6" map, (1908)

RCAHMS, 1911, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Third report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Caithness, 69-70, no.255 (Text/Report). SHG2664.

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred ND 0279 2941 (80m by 80m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet ND02NW
Civil Parish LATHERON
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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