MHG20136 - Enclosure, Achiemore


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • ENCLOSURE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NC50SE 99 579 030

In 1988 a large ditched enclosure was recorded, though doubts about its authenticity arose because it formed the hub of several, converging, modern land cairns. In 1989, a radiocarbon date of 2170+-50bp (GU-2808) was obtained from a buried ground surface within enclosure.
The diameter of the area defined by inner edge of ditch measures 19.5m. The ditch varies in width and is distorted by later field drainage ditches. On S side ditch becomes shallower and bifurcates, suggesting an entrance with access defined by several opposed ditch butts.
Excavation was restricted to a trial trench. This was designed to establish the nature and state of preservation of ditch and enclosure sediments.
The ditch fills were gleyed silts. Freely flowing ground water rapidly filled the excavated area and required continuous pumping. The sediments did not contain preserved organic material, but do offer rich charcoal inclusions as dating samples. The ditch itself is, in cross-section, an asymmetrical U-shape, with a broad flat base. It was initially cut into the sub-soil to a depth of c1.2m, and was some 3m wide. Subsequent re-cutting into infilling sediments produced a narrower more V-shaped cross-section. This secondary ditch appeared to have been equipped with a stone facing at the top of the inner slope.
On interior, no sediments survived above sub-soil surface. Concentric to inner edge of ditch was a distinct gully; this contained several post settings.
The site is interpreted as a palisaded and ditched enclosure and is most probably of later prehistoric date. It is perhaps analogue to the ditched and banked defences of many broch sites in region.
R McCullagh 1991

NC 580 024 and NC 579 027 As part of the continuing programme of work in advance of the A836 road improvement scheme, archaeological fieldwork was undertaken by AOC (Scotland) Ltd within two scheduled areas to assess the nature and extent of monuments directly affected by road construction. Five trenches were opened within the two scheduled areas:
Lairg Scheduled Area 1: Area 1.1 The area deturfed measured 10m by 37m and was centred on two large cairns identified in the 1988 Lairg Survey. At the upslope end, the trench contained traces of narrow-, or cord-rig with an average inter rig spacing of 1.2m. The two cairns were situated on the downslope edge of the rigged ground and marked the transition from freely draining land to an area of impeded drainage.
Area 1.2 was located between Sites 867 and 907 and examined the nature of an earthen bank (Site 866, 1988 survey) which forms the perimeter to a large enclosure. The bank consisted of peat built upon the local peaty topsoil. Documentary sources suggest a late AD 17th century date for its construction.
Lairg Scheduled Area 2: Three seperate small trenches were opened. Area 2.1 examined the intersection between the road-line and an area of broad rig identified from aerial photography and from 18th century map evidence.
Area 2.2 was a 1m wide trench located across a long rectangular structure (Site 966, 1988 survey).
Area 2.3 examined one cairn (Site 1002, 1988 survey) and its immediate environs at the northern end of the scheduled area.
Area 2.1 contained no archaeological entities except for very slight traces of broad rig.
Area 2.2 demonstrated that, contrary to the findings of excavation in 1991 of a similar structure, the turf walls had stood for some time after abandonment. Re-examination of the immediate vicinity identified an adjacent earlier house stance and a corn-drying kiln.
Area 2.3 the excavated cairn was shown to be the product of successive episodes of tillage. The earliest identified phase contained charcoal and minute sherds of coarse pottery. The latter has been recognised within previous excavations at Lairg to date from the 3rd millennium BC. At a relatively late phase a burial, consisting of cremated human bone, was inserted into the accumulated cairn.
Sponsors: Historic Scotland, Highland Regional Council.
A Duffy 1995.

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NC 5790 0299 (60m by 60m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NC50SE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish CREICH

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