MHG48275 - Swartigill Burn


No summary available.

Type and Period (6)

  • FARMSTEAD (Undated)
  • PEN (Undated)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Undated)
  • BUILDING (Undated)
  • MOUND (Undated)
  • STRUCTURE (Undated)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NMRS Report: (16/06/2006 13:27:55)
ND34NW 66 ND 32078 45766

Two farmsteads, each reduced to little more than grass-grown wall-footings, are situated on the N and S banks of the Burn of Swartigill respectively. In addition, there is a possible structure visible in the eroding S bank of the burn (YARROWS04 512), rig-and-furrow, a field-system and several other structures (YARROWS04 518-20)),
The steading on the N bank of the burn comprises a range (YARROWS04 513) measuring 25.3m from NE to SW by 6.3m transversely overall, and a smaller building (YARROWS04 514), measuring 10.3m from NE to SW by 3.7m transversely overall, which lies immediately to the SE. The range contains at least three compartments, that at the NE end being slightly broader than the others. Both buildings have been very heavily robbed, but where best preserved the stone walls measure 0.6m in thickness and 0.3m in height. No entrances are visible in either structure.
The steading on the S bank of the burn (YARROWS04 515) lies on a prominent rise and comprises a building standing on the SE side of an enclosure. This building, which contains three compartments and has been heavily robbed at its SW end, measures at least 13.4m from NE to SW by 5.6m over a wall 0.7m in thickness and 0.4m in height. The SE side of the building is partly overlain by the bank of an enclosure that lies immediately to the E. Within this enclosure and standing immediately E of the building is a rough oval grass-grown mound (YARROWS04 516), which measures about 14m from NW to SE by 7.9m transversely and 0.3m in height. It is possibly the remains of a heavily degraded structure, possibly largely turf-built.
What may also be the remains of a structure (YARROWS04 512) are visible eroding out of the S side of the burn, some 33m SE of the first farmstead. What appears to be two sections of drystone walling, measuring up to 0.6m in height and 11m apart, seem to retain between them a mass of small boulders, slabs and stones. The upper part of this stony mass is relatively loose and set within topsoil, but the lower part is set within a matrix of clay containing fragments of charcoal and burnt bone. Within the mass there is a structure resembling a small cist or culvert built of thin slabs and measuring about 0.3m square in section. Its interior extends at least 0.4m back into the face of the eroding bank.
To the E of the farmstead on the S bank of the burn there is an area of curvilinear rig-and-furrow in which the individual rigs measure about 2.5m in breadth. The rigs run up to the bank of the burn on the N side of the plot, but on the S and E they appear to extend only as far as the edge of the peaty moorland; their full extent to the W was not determined on the date of visit because of a dense cover of bracken, but they are likely to have reached as far as the steading.
A field-system comprising a series of thick banks, some of which are interconnected and have buildings or pens attached, extends to the E and S from the farmstead on the S side of the stream. One of these buildings (YARROWS04 519) is situated 205m E of the farmstead and it has been built onto the NNW side of a bank. Subrectangular on plan, but with a rounded NW end, it measures 8.5m from NNW to SSE by 3.7m transversely over a wall reduced to a low, heather-grown bank up to 0.3m in height. The building contains two compartments, and there is an entrance on the ENE side of the southernmost. A second building (YARROWS04 520) is attached to the S end of a bank some 40m SSE of the last. Also subrectangular on plan, it measures 4.7m from NW to SE by 3.9m transversely over a low, heather-grown bank up to 0.3m in height. A possible pen (YARROWS04 518), measuring about 4.5m from NE to SW by 3.9m transversely within a heather-grown stony bank, is attached to the NW side of a bank 62m ENE of the first building (YARROWS04 519).
(YARROWS04 512-516, 518-520)
Visited by RCAHMS (JRS, IF) 27 July 2004


The possible structure on the south side of the burn, mentioned above, was the subject of a ground penetrating radar survey in January 2007. The technique appeared to successfully define the limits of the site, but failed to clearly delimit individual features such as walls. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred ND 32078 45765 (20m by 20m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND34NW
Civil Parish WICK
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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