MHG1930 - Cairn Hill, Old Stirkoke (Broch)

Summary

No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

  • BROCH (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • CIST (Early Medieval - 561 AD? to 1057 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Cairn Hill (NAT) Broch (NR) (remains of)
OS 1:10,000 map, (1975)

Broch, Cairn Hill, Old Stirkoke: The mound had an original diameter of 80-90ft, but bout two-thirds of it had been removed on N side before 1871, when Anderson observed stone-robbing and published his observations in Archaeol Scot. The broch's walls were about 13ft thick, enclosing an area some 30ft diameter. Objects recovered are mostly in NMAS (Acc Nos: GA 73-81). They include a bone bodkin, a polished bone needle, half a disc of mica schist, a stone lamp, a few spindle whorls, two whetstones, hammer-stones, thin circular discs of slaty stone, a fragment of bronze and a portion of the hilt end of a very broad, double-edged sword.
RCAHMS 1911; J Anderson 1873; 1883.

On NE of mound an extensive midden was found which consisted principally of turf or peat ashes with wood-charcoal, shells, bones and pottery.
J Anderson 1866.

Cairn Hill is situated on edge of haughland. On its W side it has a height of some 6.3m which reduces to about 1.3m on its E side, while on N it merges with the surrounding ground. The top of hill has obviously contained some sort of stone structure, probably a broch, but it has been quarried and excavated to such an extent that no surveyable traces of any structure remain, apart from a short stretch of walling on the E side.
Revised at 1:2500. Visited by OS (W D J) 23 April 1963.

The 'cairn', which had a circumference of about 90 yds, was still being quarried in 1882, when, among many other finds, iron ore and an iron ball were discovered as well as a large stone cist 'in an important position'. It measured 8ft by 2ft by 20ins deep, and was composed of rough slabs. The skeleton, although incomplete, appeared to be of great size. The skull was well-preserved, apart from the upper teeth, and measured 23ins in circumference. (See also MHG2047 - long cists.) Anon 1882.

The remains of the broch are as described by previous OS field investigator. No further info regarding the 'large stone cist' was encountered. The farmer at the adjacent farm, Old Stirkoke disputed the title 'Cairn Hill', stating that this name applied to 'Cairn of Stirkoke' (ND34NW 12).
Revised at 1:2500. Visited by OS (J B) 1 September 1982.

Sources/Archives (5)

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred ND 3275 4928 (70m by 70m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet ND34NW
Civil Parish WICK
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (17)

  • NEEDLE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • LAMP (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Early Medieval - 561 AD? to 1057 AD?)
  • PLANT MACRO REMAINS (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • VESSEL (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • DISC (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SWORD (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • BALL (RITUAL) (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • BODKIN (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • DISC (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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