MHG2361 - Chambered cairn, Shean


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • CHAMBERED CAIRN (Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 551 BC)

Protected Status

Full Description

ND16SE 1 1742 6260.
Mound (NR) OS 6" map, Caithness, 2nd ed., (1907)

The site is now protected Collectively as a Scheduled Monument of National Importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act (1979) September 13 th 2005

Shean, Stemster: This is turf-covered and mutilated remains of a long cairn. The main axis is SSE-NNW, former end rising into a circular mound with height of c8ft, but rest of cairn has been greatly disturbed and tails away to a height of only about 1ft.
The length is now 149ft, but SSE end has been cut off square and somewhat curtailed by construction of a large cistern immediately in front of it. NNW end may also have been reduced by track which passes behind site. The width at SSE end is 73ft & at NNW end, 33ft.
RCAHMS identified this site with that excavated by Tress Barry in 1904, although this is not certain. In RCAHMS report of excavation, mention is made of an inhumation in chamber, and in debris near top of cairn, another, apparently secondary unburnt interment, accompanied by pieces of an urn, now lost.
RCAHMS 1911; A S Henshall 1963

A long cairn, as described by Henshall (1963). No trace of a chamber can now be seen. A stone projects through the turf at the SE end, and another larger stone lies at the NW side of the cairn.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (R D) 10 November 1965

(ND 1742 6260) Long Cairn (NR) OS 6" map, (1970)

No change. Visited by OS (J M) 28 October 1981

Long cairn, 'Sithean'. Length: 51m. Long mound whose SW wider end is formed by a circular mound 15m in diameter and 2m high containing two hollows. Many depressions exist at narrower end. Orientation SW-NE.
R J Mercer, NMRS MS/828/19, 1995

The site was visited by C Dagg in 2000 as part of an archaeological assessment for a proposed water mains route. It was visible asa grass covered mound north of Stemster reservoir compound. It was orginally a long cairn but had been reduced in size by the construction of a reservoir and track running alongside. <1>

Long cairn as previously described. Impressive situation, with landscape dropping away comparatively steeply to north and west giving excellent views and visibility and accentuating the site's prominence in the landscape. The monument is, however, now over-powered by modern reservoir, with dung store (demarcated by low turf walls) to north end. Visited by HET to assess impact of 3 proposed micro-turbines within reservoir compound; it is clear that the monument's setting has already been compromised to a significant degree. <2> <3>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred ND 1742 6260 (31m by 48m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND16SE
Civil Parish THURSO
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (1)

  • VESSEL (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (2)

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