MHG39713 - Souterrain, Langwell Forest


Souterrain incorporated into the NW wall of a possible homestead or hut circle.

Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Situated on a river terrace, some 3m above the Langwell Water, are the remains of a homestead comprising three elements. It is generally as described and planned by the previous OS field surveyor, but the central area has been extensively robbed and the stones displaced, and a modern road cuts through the SW arc; in consequence the original plan is uncertain. Overall it measures 21m NW-SE by 13.5m transversely with a heather-covered wall, 0.7m maximum height.
The central compartment appears square, but this is illusory, probably caused by the road cutting and the robbing of the rubble wall, which, where best preserved, is spread to 2.5m. No wall faces are exposed and the interior is covered over with stones. A gap in the SE may be an entrance.
Abutting NW side of central compartment are remains of a souterrain surviving as a depression about 8 by 2m, bounded by banks on all but SW side where there is a slight gap. The base of the depression is 0.5m below present ground level, but it is choked with stone debris and was clearly much deeper. No wall faces or lintels in situ are exposed amidst the debris.
To SE of central area, there is a curving wall extending from NE corner towards the road.
Classification of this feature is curtailed by the paucity of the remains. The most likely explanations are that it is either a bipartite homestead or a hut circle with forecourt arrangement, in both cases with a souterrain incorporated in wall on NW side. The enclosure 'some 160m to NW' is of boulder construction and as such is typical of Bronze Age/Iron Age field walls.
Visited by OS (N K B) 12 November 1982.

(ND 0344 2484) Enclosures (NR) OS 6" map, (1962)

An extremely mutilated structure measuring approximately 12m square and 1m in height, divided into two compartments. A disturbed area on E side of the structure forms another compartment. The site seems to have consisted of abutting enclosures; the westernmost, which is very narrow, looks like the remains of a collapsed souterrain.
Some 160m to NW, a course of stones outlines the remains of a large enclosure on N side of the road, near a small quarry.
Visited by OS (W D J) 10 June 1960.

(ND 0344 2484) Pict's House (NR) (Remains of)
OS 6" map, Caithness, 1st ed., (1877)

The remains of a 'Pictish dwelling' through which cart road between the houses of Wag and Alltnabae runs. It is very dilapidated.
Name Book 1877.

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred ND 0344 2484 (40m by 40m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND02SW
Civil Parish LATHERON
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

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External Links (1)

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