MHG54960 - Early prehistoric hearth, south of Forres Road, Nairn


A hearth was identified during trial trenching and excavation which was subsequently radiocarbon dated to the Mesolithic period.

Type and Period (1)

  • HEARTH (Mesolithic - 5980 BC to 5920 BC) + Sci.Date

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Two hearths were uncovered in the south eastern part of the site ([414] and [454]). The fill of one of these hearths contained a high concentration of charred plant remains, dominated by large fragments of oak charcoal. The hearth measured 0.9m by 0.8m and was located to the north of pit [403].
Visual inspection of the charcoal fragments indicated that all the fragments are oak which could have grown locally within the area. Measurement of the ring curvature was undertaken on twenty fragments showing that they mainly represent medium and large-sized timbers. This suggests that large branch wood and trunk wood were being cut and used as fuel within the pit. Charcoal fragments from this sample were recorded as up to 5cm in size, which together with the abundance of fragments within the deposit indicates in-situ burning.
A fragment of oak charcoal from this hearth/pit fill was radiocarbon dated, producing a Mesolithic date of 5980-5920 cal BC (SUERC - 34177; 6975+/-35 BP). It is noted that the use of oak charcoal for dating means there may be some time-lag effect between the felling fo the tree and the use of the wood in the fire.
Due to the lack of any other Mesolithic dating on the site it is suggested that this hearth represents a temporary rest stop rather than actual settlement activity. <1><2>

Hearth [454] yielded no dating evidence and is discussed under MHG51361. <3>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference NH 8948 5609 (point)
Map sheet NH85NE
Civil Parish NAIRN
Geographical Area NAIRN

Finds (1)

  • PLANT MACRO REMAINS (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC) + Sci.Date

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (0)

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