MHG61844 - Kerb cairn - Allt Torigil, Broubster


A kerb cairn at Allt Torigil, Broubster.

Type and Period (2)

  • BURIAL CAIRN (Bronze Age - 2400 BC? to 551 BC?)
  • KERB CAIRN (Bronze Age - 2400 BC? to 551 BC?)

Protected Status

Full Description

A kerb cairn at Allt Torigil, Broubster. Originally recorded by the OS as burial cairn 'F'.

In area centred ND 032 592 there are the remains of thirteen hut circles or enclosures, twenty-five cairns, a burnt mound (see ND05NW 24), and the footings of four rectangular buildings (see ND05NW (M) 11).
Visited by OS (R D) 9 November 1964.

(ND 033 595) Cairns (NR) (ND 031 592) Cairns (NR) Hut Circles (NR) (ND 033 589) Hut Circles & Enclosures (NR)
OS 6"map, (1963)

This complex group of hut circles and cairns is situated on a gently sloping, undulating hillside. The hut circles, of which there are eleven, form two groups, one centred on ND 032 593 and the other on ND 032 589. The norther group of five huts, four circular and one oval, range in internal diameter from 4-8.5m; the oval hut is 7.5 by 6.5m. All are bounded by turf or heather-covered walls, spread to approximately 2m and 0.4m high, each with a simple entrance in SE. The southern group of six huts is more widely scattered. Their internal sizes range from 6.5 to 13.5m in diameter; all are circular or slightly oval. Three, at ND 0318 5899, ND 0330 5907 and ND 0343 5893, are well-defined examples, the latter scooped deeply into a dry rise. Their walls are spread to around 3m and 0.7m high. Their entrances are in SE The published circle at ND 0315 5888 is ill-defined and obscured by bracken; details of it are unobtainable. At ND 0353 5897, the only feature noted was an amorphous footing 3m across. No clear pattern of cultivation is evident in the vicinity of the huts; isolated clearance heaps occur on dry rises in the area.

There are nine burial cairns centred on ND 032 594, the majority exhibiting the remains of a kerb and/or cist (cists are exposed at ND 0326 5952 and ND 0332 5948). With one exception they are on average 7m in diameter, turf or heather-covered and 0.6m high. The exceptional cairn [this one], prominently positioned at ND 0330 5945, is partly of bare stone, 15.0m in diameter and 1.5m high. One kerbstone survives in the E, but no cist or chamber is apparent. There is the suggestion of a shallow ditch 2.0m wide around the NE half. In the vicinity are two probable cairns similar to the smaller cairns, and four further examples adjacent to the hut circles at ND 031 592. The latter vary in size from 5.0 to 7.0m in diameter and stand 0.7m high. Except for one with a protruding possible capstone they lack any diagnostic features, yet their general appearance strongly resembles the burial cairns described above. Approximately four turf and heather-covered mounds at ND 033 592 are also similar to the cairns, but whether they are funerary or simply clearance heaps cannot be judged from ground inspection. Occasional smaller and less regular mounds occur over the whole area; they are assumed to be either field clearance or natural, although the possibility that some may contain burials cannot be ignored. The stony mounds and walling centred on ND 035 592 post-date the features described above.
Surveyed at 1:10560.
Revised at 1:10,000.
Visited by OS (J B) 23 July 1981.
ND05NW 14 032 592

'A': ND 331 5959; 'B': ND 0326 5958; 'C': ND 033 5958; 'D': ND 0326 5952; 'E': ND 0332 5948; 'F': ND 0330 5945; 'G': ND 0311 5929; 'H': ND 0319 5932; 'I': ND 0322 5931.

This cairn was noted, though not apparently recorded in detail, by R Mercer in 1982 during field survey in Caithness by Edinburgh University. It is shown as a small cairn like all the others in the area on figure 84. <1>

The mound/cairn was 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. Circular mound or cairn, 16m in diameter. <2>

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 field school (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 24: On a raised plateau in a clearing of modern forestry plantation lays a cist and cairn. The grass covered
sub-circular cairn measures 7.3m in diameter and survives 1m high. In the centre of the cairn lies a possible cist, measuring 0.5m x 0.75m. A possible displaced capstone, measuring 1.1m x 0.7m x 0.1m, lies on the SW flank of the cairn. <3>

This cairn is within the area of a group of roundhouses Scheduled by Historic Environment Scotland on 12/05/2016. <4>

See also ND05NW 48 Field Clearance Cairns

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred ND 0330 5945 (28m by 28m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND05NW
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (3)

External Links (3)

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