MHG6311 - Bronze Age Cemetery, under railway, Dalmore


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NH66NE 15 6660 6878 and 6640 6907.

(Area: NH 665 689) A Bronze Age burial ground was discovered, in two parts, in summer 1878, during construction of the branch railway from Alness station to Dalmore Distillery (NH 666 687).
The first part lay immediately above the distillery, and was apparently contained within a stone wall, the base of which could be traced along 3 sides, enclosing an area 108ft by 66ft, with the shorter walls running N-S. This group consisted of:-
A, a short cist with a crouched burial, a leaf-shaped flint blade, jet beads and a stone bracer.
B, six small cists containing burnt bones, some human, some animal, and, in 1, what appeared to be remains of a tanged bronze blade.
C, a cist containing an inverted cinerary urn and another smaller urn which stood the right way up and contained only gravel.
D, a circular construction of coursed stones, about 18" in internal diameter, enclosing an inverted cinerary urn and capped with a flat slab. The cinerary urn was donated to NMAS1881 by Andrew Mackenzie.
E, an unenclosed burial consisting of loose bones overlaid with a few stones.
The second, presumably related, group lay at a distance of 200 yards along line of railway. It consisted of:-
A, Two short cists with crouched burials and, in each case, a slightly decorated inverted urn which, since one contained charcoal, were presumably cinerary.
B, A cist, 3' 4" x 1'6" x 1'8", containing fragments of bone.
C, A cist of small stones enclosing a 'rough urn' and fragments of burnt bone and charcoal.
D, Burnt bones, laid on a bed of sand, with no protecting stones.
E, Three small 'rude cists , formed of stones but destitute of human or other remains.'
A group of broken, calcined bones overlay the two short cists by several feet, implying that latter were much earlier.
In the neighbourhood of the second group are sandy patches in the dark surface soil, similar to those which indicated the positions of the graves. These suggest that there are other graves as yet undiscovered. The 'manufactured articles' were sent to Ardross Castle.
W Jolly 1879; Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1881.

There is no trace and no local knowledge of findspots of burials but their approximate positions can be ascertained by deduction.
The burials found 'immediately above the distillery' must have been at the rail-head centred at NH 6660 6878, where the track cuts into a natural knoll. For a distance of 200m NW, the railway is on an embankment, followed by a flat stetch of line. There is no trace of the stone wall which 'contained' the burials.
The second group of burials '200 yards along the line of the railway' could have been at NH 6640 6907 where the line cuts through a small embankment. No trace could be found of any 'sandy patches' in the soil of the adjoining fields, which have long been under cultivation.
Visited by OS (N K B) 23 March 1966.

The site at NH 664 691 is on edge of a known Bronze Age burial ground. A resistivity survey produced a localisation of anomalies in an area threatened by work on A9 Alness bypass. Trial excavation over anomalies only produced 4 small pits with no artifacts or datable material recovered.
Sponsor : SDD (AM)
D Reed 1985

The tanged bronze blade from cist B was catalogued and photographed as part of the North Kessock & District Local History Society and Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH) collaborative 'Feats of Clay' Project, which was focused on Bronze Age metalworking around the Moray Firth. It was indentified as a razor rather than a tanged bronze blade and was assigned an Early Bronze Age date. <1>

There are two ornanmented food vessels listed in the NMS catalogue from Alness which were acquired in 1881 from A. Mackenzie. They are likely to have come from this site. Acc. Nos. EE 46 and EE 47. <2>

There are four Beakers in Inverness Museum which are thought to be from this site. They are listed under Acc. Nos. 1955.003-006. <3>

Sources/Archives (11)



Grid reference Centred NH 6660 6878 (100m by 100m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH66NE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish ROSSKEEN

Finds (11)

  • RAZOR (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • BEAD (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • CINERARY URN (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • URN (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • PLANT MACRO REMAINS (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • ARM GUARD (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Early Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 1501 BC)
  • BLADE (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • BEAKER (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • VESSEL (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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.