MHG1984 - Chambered Cairn, Earl's Cairn


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Type and Period (1)

  • CHAMBERED CAIRN (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)

Protected Status

Full Description

Earl's Cairn (NAT) Chambered Cairn (NR) OS 1:10,000 map, (1975)

Earl's Cairn, an Orkney-Cromarty round cairn with Camster type chamber, is now grass-grown and extremely ruined though still 6ft high on N side. It is about 40ft in diameter and tripartite chamber is entered from ESE. The cairn was more intact in 1911 and its description then is shown dotted on plan. All that remains now are two peristalith stones, various boulders lying about and two transverse slabs on NE side, presumably part of outer compartment, with a stretch of dry wall between them. Finds, now lost, were two urns of blue clay, highly ornamented but in fragments, and burnt wood and ashes.
A S Henshall 1963; RCAHMS 1911.

Earl's Cairn has been greatly mutilated by robbing and ploughing. All that now remains of it is a turf-covered mound 10-14m in diameter by 1.6m high although original cairn perimeter can still be traced as a slight stony shelf, 20 diameter. Within mound are three transverse slabs, part of chamber, and six earthfast stones, obviously part of chamber, but not in situ. No trace of peristalith stones nor the dry-walling could be found.
Visited by OS (R D) 1 March 1965.

Earl's Cairn is prominently positioned in an arable field and is generally as described and illustrated by previous authorities. Only two transverse stones in situ are evident with a slightly displaced stone between (see plan by A S Henshall). A few stones of chamber also survive on S side. Whether two stones of peristalith noted by Miss Henshall are such is uncertain due to continuous cultivation around the cairn. Boulders have been dumped around the fringe of cairn.
Visited by OS (J B) 5 May 1982.

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred ND 2628 6973 (80m by 80m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND26NE
Civil Parish DUNNET
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (1)

  • VESSEL (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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