MHG61704 - Early-Middle BA Hut circle - NE of Cnoc Freiceadain, Caithness


An early-middle Bronze Age hut circle to the northeast of Cnoc Freiceadain, Caithness.

Type and Period (1)

  • HUT CIRCLE (Early Bronze Age to Middle Bronze Age - 1507 BC to 1410 BC?) + Sci.Date

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An early-middle Bronze Age hut circle to the northeast of Cnoc Freiceadain, Caithness.

A hut circle identified in LiDAR data gathered by AOC Archaeology in 2011 as part of the mitigation for the visual impact on the archaeological landscape associated with the proposed Baillie Hill windfarm, Caithness. It is one of three possible hut-circles in close proximity. <1>

The site was visited and recorded by topographic survey in 2015 as part of the 'Hidden Bronze Age Landscape of Caithness Project' undertaken by AOC Archaeology Group and members of the Castletown Heritage Society with local volunteers. The project ran as a series of four week long field schools training volunteers in techniques of field survey, systematic soil sampling and targeted excavation. Fieldwork in week one of the fieldschool (22-27/06/2015) focussed on using LiDAR data in the field, use of GPS to create simple maps of archaeological sites and ground-truthing sites through LiDAR. In week two (13-18/07/2015) participants learned how to create accurate plans using manual taped offset and plane table survey and total station and GPS surveys. Site 1: A hut circle lying within 50m of possible burn beds and is set in rough grazing with mixed grasses, soft rush and gorse on gentle undulating SE facing slope. The site comprises a semi-circular bank, measuring 12.3m by 8.2m, surviving to a height of 0.2m and a spread of material measuring 3-4m. It has a central depression opening to the south of the site. In week three the hut circle was one of three subject to magnetometry survey. The same week the feature [which after the walkover survey was initially thought to be a possible burnt mound rather than a hut circle] was subject to trial trenching. Trench 1 was excavated over the bank and excavation of test pits for soil sampling across the site quickly revealed that it was not a burnt mound and a larger trench was excavated across a stretch of the bank. Trench 1 measured 3.1m NE-SW by 1m. The bank was composed of inner and outer faces of flat slabs with an earth or turf core. It measured 1.4m wide from inner to outer face and survived up to 0.11m high. Below a collapse/ slumping deposit in the interior of the structure was an occupation deposit of compact dark grey silty clay containing charcoal flecks, this deposit abutted the inner facing stones and was up to 0.05m thick. A radiocarbon date obtained from the occupation deposit gave a date range of 1507-1410calBC (Calibrated 2σ). <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred ND 0178 6605 (18m by 18m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND06NW
Civil Parish THURSO
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (5)

External Links (1)

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