MHG203 - Chambered Long Cairn, Sgarbach


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A mutilated, amorphous mound containing several large, flat slabs one of which bears the date 1928.
Visited by OS 10 September 1965.

A possible horned cairn, 60m N-S by 18m. Nicholson excavated between horns in 1928.
C E Batey 1982. <1>

Situated on a low ridge sloping gradually down to NE, are denuded remains of a long horned cairn, overgrown with heather and rough grass. It measures 60m NE-SW along ridge, 14m wide and 0.3m high at NE end, narrowing to a 'waist' 12m wide, and expanding to a width of 18m and a height of 0.6m at highest point in SW, though there is evidence of quarrying and displacement of cairn material in SW. There is no evidence of horns in NE, but in SW are vague truncated remains of two. Midway between horns in body of cairn is Nicholson's excavation pit with a loose, displaced slab, possibly a lintel, alongside. In sides of two land drains which cross cairn can be seen a content of earth and stone, with a higher ratio of stone than is evident in vicinty.
There is no local knowledge of any finds having been made.
Surveyed at 1:2500 Visited by OS 22 July 1982.

The last remains of this cairn are at 20m OD, 90m from cliffs in a small area of moorland between flat cultivated land and sea.
The cairn is overgrown with coarse grass and heather. It is 61m long, the axis lying NNE-SSW. N part, for about 44m from N end, has been reduced to little more than a bank of cairn material 0.3m high defining each long side. Near N end cairn is 10-11m wide, expanding very slightly towards S. The edges of this part of cairn are rather indefinite. At about 10m from N end it is cut by a fence and ditch; in side of latter a few pieces of shattered stone can be seen, and at W edge of cairn two small slabs one above other are possibly part of a wall-face.
At about 15.5m from S end cairn widens asymmetrically to give a max width of c19m. There is more cairn material in S part of cairn, the maximum height near SW and SE sides being 0.8m, and edge is fairly clear. On W side, after disturbance, edge bends to SW and forms a right-angled SW corner. On E side edge bulges sharply then curves westwards to give a gently convex plan to S end of cairn. At N end of bulge curve of E edge continues westwards across cairn as a low arc of cairn material fading away on line of axis 16.5m from S end. The centre of S part of cairn has been greatly robbed, and somewhat SW of centre is a deep oval hollow with upcast beside it, made during brief investigations by J Nicolson in 1928 (Batey supra). On its W side is a half-hidden prone slab 1.35m long.
Though extremely ruined, remains give impression that a low long cairn with an expanded and somewhat higher S part, its S edge almost straight in plan, has been overlaid at S end by a round cairn placed to E of axis.
Visited 1 July 1988. J L Davidson and A S Henshall 1991. <2>

During a nearby watching brief in June 2009 this site was observed to be visible as a low rise with no differentiation in vegetation, the highest point being at the SW end. The turf here has recently been pulled back to reveal a stone slab, not necessarily in situ but possibly a lintel to the chamber. <3>

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred ND 3731 6393 (100m by 100m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND36SE
Civil Parish CANISBAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

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External Links (1)

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