MHG3775 - Unenclosed settlement, Lower Slackbuie


No summary available.

Type and Period (3)

  • RING DITCH (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC) + Sci.Date
  • PIT CIRCLE (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2400 BC to 560 AD)
  • PIT ALIGNMENT (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2400 BC to 560 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NH64SE 37 6704 4245.

NH 670 424. Air photography has revealed what may be an unenclosed settlement 140m SSE of Balloan Cottages. (Visible on RCAHMS air photographs IN 3113-5: flown 1977) It comprises a pit-circle 7m in diameter and a ring-ditch 13m in diameter. The NE arc of the ring-ditch has been destroyed by road construction.
RCAHMS 1979. <1>

Air photographs of Balloan Farm by J Bone have recorded this pit-circle and a pit alignment running NNE away from it. (See Archive for details.)
Information from J Harden 1989. <2>

NH 670 424 Assessment excavations were carried out in advance of proposed development in the area. The proposed access road would cross one end of a scheduled monument area, within which, to the S there are two cropmark sites identified from aerial photographs (NH64SE 37 'Balloan Cottages'). Excavation uncovered deposits associated with periodic flooding, however no features or deposits of an archaeological nature were encountered.
Sponsor: M Mackenzie.
EASE 1995. <3>

Geophysical survey was undertaken at this site. This largely confirmed the evidence from aerial photography, and postulated an inner ditch showing up as an ephemeral anomaly on the ring ditch. <4>

As a follow up to the geophysical survey, and to comply with the conditions of Scheduled Monument Consent, a seven trench evaluation was carried out across the Scheduled Area. A series of large post-holes were recorded. Two main phases were noted to the prehistoric features, although these may represent a chronologically narrow sequence, as the fills were fairly homogenous. It is suggested that these postholes are for a round structural building, c.6m in diameter. A third phase probably represents pre-modern agricultural usage of this area. Further analysis of the samples taken is recommended. <5>

A number of samples taken were analysed. Charred cereal grain was present in a limited number of samples. Mostly, these were small quanitites of the poorly preserved grains of hulled barley and oat. A similar assemblage of palaeonvironmental remains have been found at the nearby enclosure and settlement at Balloan Park. The evidence from Balloan Park suggests that communities in the area were practicing mixed farming enconomies of cereal cultivation and animal husbandry in the late Bronze Age and Iron Age; the palaeoenvironmental evidence from this site is consistent with this interpretation.
Charred wood was also recovered from the samples. The likely source of this is from the domestic hearth, from which burnt food debris, charred during the preparation or small-scale crop processing has been re-worked and redeposited into nearby contexts.
Two samples of charred wood were sent for radiocarbon dating. They returned calibrated dates of 2140±30 BP and 2110± BP. <6>

Historic Scotland proposes to revise the scheduling of this monument following the above investigation. <7>

Sources/Archives (7)



Grid reference Centred NH 6705 4244 (139m by 145m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH64SE
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (1)

  • PLANT REMAINS (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (2)

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