MHG62941 - Linear earthwork - Achnagairn


A linear earthwork at Achnagairn.

Type and Period (1)

  • LINEAR EARTHWORK (Unknown date)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The Inverness Field Club, led by Donald Coghill, surveyed a number of sites in the Aird area between 1987 and 1989. Achnagairn Wood.
In the vicinity of Achnagairn House at its northwest side, there is a similar linear earthwork to the one at Site No. 119 (see MHG62900). <1>

On a later inspection of this Site a more thorough scrutiny after the removal of foliage revealed that though levelled, this linear earthwork was a fairly substantial rampart with its ditch at the east. Below standing timber and then through broom and birch scrub it runs in a straight line northwards from a rounded corner at OS 553449 in the vicinity of Achnagairn House to meet a beech hedge on the south side of the public road, a distance of 300 yards. Twelve yards to the east of the ditch, a parallel smaller ditch with its less substantial rampart on the same west side is also cut off at the hedge. This outer rampart and ditch was destroyed near the rounded corner by a drive and landscaping has obliterated all further trace. This drive also cuts through the main inner rampart and ditch at an angle 10 yards north of the corner. After rounding the corner this main rampart and ditch runs in a straight line south westwards to where after 75 yards it is cut off by the boundary fence of an arable field. At OS 552447 adjoining the other side of this field and near the lower end, it can be seen on the same alignment as it crosses at an angle a strip of scrub trees and bushes near the south end of the linear earthwork of Site No. 119, the rampart and ditch being visible for about a dozen yards.

This main rampart and ditch now runs at the south side of what may have been an old drove road. This was made evident a few years ago when the foundations of the second house from the road corner were being dug and the ditch, filled up with dumped stones, was discovered. The next location to provide a clue, and where only what appears to be the smaller ditch is evident, is at OS 549446. This point is at the west side of the second arable field through which the linear earthwork would have run. Fourteen yards of this non-drainage ditch can be seen running north westwards through scrub near the bottom of the boundary strip of Achnagairn Farm. Beyond the scrub it may have been the construction or the later widening of the parallel main Inverness/Beatify road that has completely removed any traces of the earthwork at the bottom of a field at West Croft. The next point where the rampart can be traced is at the south west corner of this field and from here the boundary dyke between West Croft and Cononbank Farm runs uphill in a straight line to meet the Kirkhill Village/Cononbank road at OS 546447. This stone dyke sits on the top and slightly to the east side of title eroded rampart throughout the length of this section which is distorted in places by dumped stones.

This main rampart is exactly on the same alignment as the section of rampart A-B at Site No. 16 which may be a large Roman temporary camp. This A-B section is in Blar na Collie fir wood which is beyond the arable field on the other side of the public road from the boundary dyke. From the road the main rampart would have run up through this field and appears to have been constructed along the top of the older rampart. About two thirds up from points X-A of Site No. 16, the latter rampart appears to have swung towards the east, as in the uncultivated strip between two arable fields the bump of the main rampart and the hollow of the outer ditch to the north can clearly be seen below the fence at OS 540451. This point is 128 yards down from the boundary dyke at the fir wood. In Wester Kirkhill Farm at OS 548453 there is a strip of dense broom in line with the feature observed at the field boundary (OS 540451) in which fragments of the rampart and outer ditch on the same alignment can be traced. A hard strip of ground running from this area to where the rampart comes up to the beech hedge in Achnagairn Wood has been observed when ploughing and was thought to have been an old road but is more likely to have been a compacted track on the higher ground of the levelled former rampart. No further traces of this earthwork, which appears to have enclosed about 70 acres, can now be seen.

This area may have been the land of Lusnacorn which was one of the davochs in the Parish of Wardlaw, later part of the Parish of Kirkhill. This land appears to have been adjacent to those of Lovat and Fingask,-while the lands of Moniack were separated from Lusnacorn by what was the Conon Loch on the one hand and what was an area of tidal alder marsh on the other, with the neck of dry land lying between. 'Lus' was probably a corrupt spelling of the Gaelic word 'hos' which means an enclosure. 'Corn' was probably how a monastic scribe referred to Conon when writing in Latin the charter of mortification of the multures of lands donated by John Bisset of Lovat to the monks
of Beauly shortly after the foundation of the Priory there in 1230. Thosaforementioned four lands were linked together when mentioned by E. Chisholm Batten in one of the lists in his history of Beauly Priory, a work published in 1877. <2>

Note: Site not visible on aerial photographs so location based on grid coordinates. (T. Blackie 19/07/23)

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NH 5529 4510 (20m by 20m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH54NE
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (0)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.