MHG50574 - Learnie Cave (2b), Cromarty


A natural cave containing evidence for 19th and 20th century occupation, but with potential for evidence of earlier activity.

Type and Period (4)

  • WALL (Built, 19th Century to 20th Century - 1801 AD? to 2000 AD?)
  • OCCUPATION SITE (Mesolithic to 21st Century - 8000 BC? to 2100 AD)
  • CAVE (Occupied, Mesolithic to 21st Century - 8000 BC? to 2100 AD)
  • CUP MARKED STONE? (Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 4000 BC? to 1501 BC?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NMRS Report: (30/04/2007 13:38:58)
NH76SE 29 757 608

Large - medium natural cave with well built 1m thick wall - stone faced on both sides - large boulders. 0.3m highacross whole entrance.
Small secondary wall 1.5m into cave from first wall. <1>

This cave is one of 9 caves below Learnie Farm consisting of 3 groups of 3. The floor of the cave is described as being dry with some rocks and pigeon droppings. It is ideal for habitation, 6m high, 4.4m across at entrance, 17m deep. It lies at slightly over 5m above mean sea level, about 3m above high water.
A small scale trial excavation took place here in September 2008. The excavations revealed nothing earlier than 19th century. The cave appears to have been used by cattle for shelter during the 20th century. A series of packed clay floor levels pre-dated this use, and were associated with leather offcuts and worn shoe soles of probable 20th-century date. Across the front of the cave stands a substantial stone wall with an entrance gap. This overlay a shell midden. No dating evidence was recovered from either feature, but the excavators suggest that the shell midden dates from 19th or 20th century. Earlier evidence may be present but was not observed, probably due to the limited extent of the excavation.
At the end of the excavation, possible cup marks were noted on the north wall of the cave. <2>

The above excavation report contains descriptive details of 14 caves which could potentially have been used as rock shelters in historic or pre-historic times. In the absence of detailed national grid references these have not been added to the HER at present. The report should be inspected for further information. <3>

A list of caves, with grid references, is available on the Rosemarkie Caves Project website. These will be added to the HER shortly. <4>

See link to RCP website for details of 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018 excvations including the discovery of the remains of 'Rosemarkie Man'.

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NH 75673 60764 (26m by 20m) (Approximate)
Map sheet NH76SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (3)

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