MHG58509 - Hut Circle and Shieling - Ben-a-cheilt


A hut circlet, two smaller circular buildings and three stone-based peat-covered mounds were identified on thee SE side of Ben-a-cheilt.

Type and Period (2)

  • HUT CIRCLE (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2400 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • SHIELING (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Site visits, field survey, description plans & photography were undertaken as part of Scotland's Rural Past Ben-a-cheilt project.
A hut circle is situated in rough grazing and heather on a gently sloping terrace on the SE side of Ben-a-cheilt and beside it are two smaller circular buildings and three stone-based peat-covered mounds. The group lies at c170m OD and may represent the re-use of an earlier site as a shieling ground.
The hut circle (ND 20232 36344) measures 5.5m - 5.7m in internal diameter, within low stone walls c2m wide. A very large stone measuring 2.6m long x 1.8m wide x 1.8m high is set within the W wall and forms a raised, flat surface in the interior of the hut, with a flat stone setting below it. The entrance faces SE and is defined by two triangular orthostats (1m high x 0.9m at the base). One stone has toppled and is lying across the entrance, covered with heather and turf. The upright entrance stone has a probable geological feature at the tip - two holes approximately 2cm in diameter – the significant use of this stone may be related to a similar stone 2km distant, which has an associated folk-story connected to “The Stone With Eyes”.
Immediately E of the hut circle, at ND 20229 36344, is a small circular feature with stone foundations, measuring 4m in external diameter over walls 0.6m thick. There is a quantity of tumbled stone both inside and out, overgrown with turf and heather. This feature is probably a shieling hut, associated with the farming practice of moving livestock to higher ground during summer months, but it has also been suggested that it may have been a shooting butt.
Immediately W of the hut circle, at ND 20234 36337, is a second smaller circular structure, similar to the possible shieling hut just described.
Close by, there are three stone-based peat covered mounds at ND 20238 36363, ND 20248 36372 and ND 20257 36365. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred ND 2023 3634 (60m by 60m)
Map sheet ND23NW
Civil Parish LATHERON
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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