MHG63089 - Three Peaks Cave - Rosemarkie


An archaeological survey and test pitting was undertaken between 2011 and 2015 by the Rosemarkie Caves Project.

Type and Period (2)

  • OCCUPATION SITE (Early Iron Age to Medieval - 550 BC? to 1559 AD?)
  • CAVE (Occupied, Early Iron Age to Medieval - 550 BC? to 1559 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The 2011-15 Rosemarkie Caves Project excavation report contains descriptive details of 14 caves which could potentially have been used as rock shelters in historic or pre-historic times.

From the results of our 2011-2015 programme of survey and test pitting, substantial evidence for lengthy use of the Rosemarkie Caves over the past 2000 years was gathered. A number of the caves, in particular the Learnie group, had been visited or occupied sometime during the 7th-9th centuries AD.

Three Peaks cave was named after 3 small stalagmites at the back of the cave and was hidden behind some trees. It has a smooth floor which looks as though it has been cleared in parts. Situated at 9m OD at entrance.

Test Pit 1
The bank of talus, which has probably built up over a considerable amount of time, limited the access to the cave, and Test Pit 1 was excavated at the back of the cave (Figure 14). Below mostly clean sediment, a stone setting [004] was uncovered. It comprised upright cobbles and small slabs enclosing a sebrectangular area approximately 0.35m by 0.5m NE-SW. The fill contained some charcoal fragments but no other revealing finds. The structure was interpreted as a possible burial cist, given its appearance (Plate 2; Figure 15). There was no material recovered to substantiate this interpretation, but the placement of the structure at the back of the cave could be a likely location for the location of a burial. A sample of hazel roundwood charcoal from behind one of the slabs was submitted for radiocarbon dating and produced a date of 133‐217 AD Calibrated 1‐sigma (68.2%) and 85‐243 AD Calibrated 2‐sigma (95.4%). <1>

A list of caves, with grid references, is available on the Rosemarkie Caves Project website. <2>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred NH 7650 6158 (44m by 45m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH76SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (3)

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