MHG61846 - Burial cairn - Allt Torigil, Broubster


A burial cairn at Allt Torigil, Broubster.

Type and Period (1)

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

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Full Description

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

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 in figure 84 as a small cairn like all the others in the area. <1>

The cairn is visible 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. However, it was not identified in the initial data analysis and is therefore nor recorded/listed in the report. <2>

This cairn is within the area of a group of roundhouses Scheduled by Historic Environment Scotland on 12/05/2016. <3>

See also ND05NW 48 Field Clearance Cairns

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred ND 0319 5932 (12m by 12m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND05NW
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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