MHG54911 - Pits - Kerb Cairn, Stoneyfield


51 pits were excavated in and around the kerb cairn during the rescue excavation in 1972-3.

Type and Period (3)

  • PIT (Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 551 BC) + Sci.Date
  • PIT (Medieval - 1058 AD to 1559 AD) + Sci.Date
  • PIT (19th Century - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

In 1972-3 a rescue excavation was undertaken at the Clava- type Cairn at Stoney field, which reavealed a multiperiod site of various features (see MH3723). Of these were 51 excavated pits in and around the kerb cairn.
Four pits were dated to the 4th millennium BC by artefacts or C-14 dating. Fills included a stone with a single cup mark (See MHG45836) and grooved ware pottery (Pits 4, 6, 9, 18).
A later phase of pits included grooved ware pottery and occupational debris. This is thought to coincide with the building of the rectangular structure (MHG45837) and row of post holes running NE, both of which were constructed before the cairn was built. Pit 50 contained cremated remains of two adults, grooved ware pottery and a tranchet flint arrowhead (MHG45835). Two pits with groove ware (Pits 21 and 49) had C-14 dates of CAL. BC 2468-2298 (1 sigma) and CAL BC 2873-2509 (1 sigma). Pit 49 also had a scraper and tranchet arrowhead. Pit 19 had pottery similar to grooved ware, a broken serrated flint flake and a CAL BC 2466-2311 BC C-14 date. The massive kerb of graded stones is built sometime in this phase, enclosing the central platform cairn. The fact that the building is in the near centre suggests it acted as a focal point.
In Phase III four cists were built, of which one produced a C-14 date of CAL BC 2290-1979 (1 sigma) and contained a food vessel (See MHG45834). There was also a pit (Pit 30) with a cremation in a cordoned urn (MHG45835) and three possible inhumation graves outside the kerb.
Later pits included Pit 24 with a C-14 date of CAL BC 921-809 (one sigma).
Subsequent activity on the site is represented by medieval glass still fragments and unidentified iron fragments in Pit 26 which had the latest C-14 date of the site of CAL AD 1280-1460. Pit 10 contained 19th century pottery. <1>

2 retouched lithics from the excavation of the kerb cairn before its removal to its new position near Raigmore Community Centre. <2>

A radiocarbon date from the cremated bone in the cordoned urn in pit 30 was obtained and published in 2003 as part of the National Museums of Scotland Dating Cremated Bones Project. This indicated a Early Bronze Age date of 1690- 1530 BC calibrated to 1 sigma. This, along with the 2290-1979 BC date from the cist burial supports the long use of this site as a Bronze Age cemetary. <3>

Two radiocarbon dates from cremated bone in pits 20 and 50 was obtained and published in 2018 as part of 'Tracing the lines: uncovering Grooved Ware Trajectories in Neolithic Scotland' project. This produced dates of 3090-2909 BC and 1053-895 BC respectively, calibrated to 2 sigma. The second date indicated that the cremation was an intrusive Late Bronze Age deposit into a pit containing Neolithic material (Groove Ware and tranchet derivative arrowhead). <4>

The excavation assemblage from the site is in Inverness Museum and is listed under Acc. No. 1979.045. There are also finds listed under Acc. Nos. 1982.081-083, 1984.097, 1985.067 and 2002.655. <5>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference NH 6877 4548 (point)
Map sheet NH64NE
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (8)

  • HUMAN REMAINS (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC) + Sci.Date
  • SHERD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)
  • ARROWHEAD (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)
  • BLADE (Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC? to 551 BC?)
  • URN (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • SHERD (Medieval - 1058 AD to 1559 AD)
  • SHERD (19th Century - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.