MHG51572 - Burnt Mound, Arisaig


A burnt mound recorded during improvements to the A830.

Type and Period (1)

  • BURNT MOUND (Undated)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NM68NE 53 667 865
The A830 between Loch nan Uamh and Arisaig in Lochaber is the last remaining single-track trunk road in Scotland. A desk-based assessment undertaken by ASH in 2003 was updated by a walk-over survey in early June 2005. CFA Archaeology Ltd then investigated those remains that would be affected by the planned upgrading of the road between June and November 2005. The known features comprised old road alignments, estate infrastructure and a listed bridge. These were subjected to written and photographic survey and recording during the evaluation in late June and July. This also involved programmes of test-pitting and trial trenching and was followed by selective excavation..
NM 667 865 At Arisaig, a trench measuring c 13 x 12m was excavated by machine, revealing a weathered spread of reddened fire-cracked stones with intermittent charcoal covering an area of 11 x 6m. Although damaged by the later excavation of a ditch and field drain, it appeared the burnt mound lay on low banks of sand, which may have been natural or introduced to the site. There was a stream on one side and a marshy area on the other. The sand banks sealed an underlying primary deposit of burnt material containing stones that were not similarly reddened and this was associated with a stake-hole. There was no sign of either a hearth or of a trough.
Archive to be deposited with NMRS, report lodged with Highland SMR.
Sponsor: Historic Scotland.
I Suddaby, 2006. <1>

Further details on the excavation of the burnt mound. The deposit of burnt stone was seen to cover an area of c.11m
by c.6m and to be aligned north/south. Much damaged by a mixture of human activity and fluvial erosion, it consisted of a spread of clast-supported, reddened and fire-cracked stones.
It is suggested that the material represents more than one phase of use, in what was clearly a wet area. Few artefacts were recovered from the burnt mound site, a common trait with monuments such as these. Ecofacts were common but in variable condition. There were no remains of wooden structures and no hearth. Substantial quantities of charcoal were recovered, with particular emphasis being placed on the palaeochannel where post-depositional disturbance and compaction had been minimised and preservation was best. Further post-excavation work is planned. <2>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NM 6666 8650 (10m by 10m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NM68NE
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (1)

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