MHG2939 - Barrow cemetery - Allanfearn


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

  • SQUARE BARROW (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • ROUND BARROW (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)

Protected Status

Full Description

Crop-marks showing the ditches of at least one square and two circular barrows have been recorded 280m WNW of Allanfearn farmhouse (visible on RCAHMS air photographs, 1977). The square barrow measures about 5m square within a ditch which may be interrupted by causeways at the corners; it appears to be joined by two transverse ditches to a circular barrow measuring about 5m in diameter within a ditch about 1m wide. There is at least one other circular barrow to the W.

The barrow cemetery was scheduled by Historic Scotland in 1991.

In Jan-Feb 1993 GUARD carried out a geophysical survey over the area of the barrows and surrpounding fields in advance of the construction of a sewage farm. The intention of the survey was to locate them and any further associated remains within the field. The barrows themselves, being scheduled monuments, were not under threat, but any remains outwith the scheduled area could have been damaged by construction work. In order to allow for the possibility of siting the sewage farm in a less archaeologically-sensitive area, the two adjoining fields were also surveyed. Survey was carried out using a fluxgate gradiometer; resistivity was inappropriate because of the free-draining nature of the site. A total of 112 20m-grids were surveyed, giving a coverage of 44800m sq. Within the sheduled area, the three barrows were located but appeared only faintly. The reason for this is that the banks of the barrows have been substantially ploughed out with the magnetic signal dispersed accordingly. A possible fourth barrow was also indicated in close proximity to the other barrows. The only other potentially important anomalies were interpreted as a possible sub-oval enclosure and a possible hut circle. In the adjoining fields, a rectilineal anomaly, interpreted as an enclosure, and a possible sub-oval enclosure were located in the field to the E, while a field bank and enclosure were indicated in the field to the W. <1> <2>

The southwest and northwest corners of the Scheduled area were excavated by GUARD in 1995 as part of a trial trenching phase of investigation in advance of the proposed construction of a new sewage treatment works. The sites of the barrows themselves were not threatened by impact. The northwest corner (Trench N) would be impacted by the widening of an access road and the southwest corner (Trench M) would be impinged by the development itself. Although two small features were exposed, one in each trench, neither was considered archaeologically significant. <3>

Following reassessment, the Scheduled area was amended by Historic Environment Scotland in 2016. The new Scheduled area is focused much more on the area of the cropmarks. <4>

The site is included in a broad discussion of Pictish cemeteries in Inverness-shire, Moray and Aberdeenshire. <5>

Sources/Archives (8)



Grid reference Centred NH 7132 4758 (40m by 40m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NH74NW
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (3)

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