MHG6416 - Hut circle - Loch Lonachan


A hut circle with adjacent enclosure near Loch Lonachan in Strath, Skye.

Type and Period (3)

  • HUT CIRCLE? (Neolithic to Late Iron Age - 4000 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • ENCLOSURE (Undated)
  • BUILDING? (1205-1280, Medieval - 1058 AD to 1559 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A circular structure, ostensibly a prehistoric hut circle, although a C14 date recovered from an occupation horizon associated with a central hearth returned a date in the early-late 13th century.

A hut circle with adjacent enclosure recorded by M Wildgoose and R Miket in 1989 in advance of proposed afforestation. On the southern slope of an E-W ridge, and immediately below the crest, is a hut circle and enclosure. They lie at a height of c160m on thin calcareous soil and peat overlying dissected limestones. The hut circle is oval, measuring 6.2m internally E-W and 5.5m internally N-S. The wall thickness varies between 1m and 1.4m and is made up of large and medium sized stones laid randomly throughout its thickness; no clear facing is evident, and it seems doubtful whether one was ever intended. As such the "wall" may have formed simply the base for a turf or timber superstructure. The position of the entrance is unclear. An enclosure wall runs from the eastern side of the structure, and utilizing natural limestone outcrops encloses an area measuring 19m E-W by 23m N-S (437 sq m). The boundary wall is made up of random stone. <1>

The hut circle (site LS88), was one of 29 identified or re-recorded by M Wildgoose in a walkover survey as part of the High Pasture Cave and Environs project. Three test pits were subsequently excavated in the hut circle in 2011. A roughly circular stone walled enclosure measuring 8.5m in overall diameter. A narrow entrance faced to the south. Excavation of test pit 1 revealed an occupation horizon which surrounded a central slab hearth. Finds recovered included charcoals, a single pottery sherd, 4 lithics, burnt bone fragments and burnt hazelnut shells. Test Pit 2 showed that the wall consisted of a pile of randomly laid boulders and stones. A third test pit over a hollow just to the north west of the site revealed a small, charcoal filled, fire pit cut into the local karstic clays, which had become baked and heat reddened with use. A C14 date of AD1205-1280 was returned. <2>

Summary of the landscape survey project and test pitting campaign. <3>

161620 819150 Loch Lonachan HPC88: The hut circle was revisited and recorded by M Wildgoose in 2011 as part of research for a dissertation on hut circles in Wester Ross for A Welti. This is one of a number of prehistoric roundhouses in the area in and around Strath Suardal. This Strath runs NE/SW from Broadford to Torrin. These roundhouses are of special interest as all are within relatively easy reach of the site of High Pasture Cave (MHG32043) and hence some may have been associated with it. The roughly circular stone structure is in fair condition and sits on a natural terrace on a gentle north facing slope. The landscape is sloping and rocky. Vegetation outside the structure consists mainly of heather and bracken with some grass. Inside the structure vegetation is partly grass, partly bracken. The HC has panoramic views inland and seems to be isolated. It is 400m from a stream, 900m from freshwater Loch Lonachan, and 2500m to the East of High Pasture Cave. Average internal diameter is 6.15m, external diameter is 9.25m. The double skinned walling is fairly intact, with thickness 1.25m and maximum height 0.5m. A definite entrance faces South with passage width 1.1m both internally and externally, and passage length 2.25m. This HC was test-pitted by M Wildgoose and S Glover as part of the High Pasture Cave and Environs project, (see MHG5230) and excavation produced a pottery sherd, burnt hazelnut shells, burnt bone, lithics and charcoals. C14 from the occupation layer gave a Late Medieval date of AD1205-1280. <4> <5>

[Note: a database was set up as part of research for the dissertation and was subsequently expanded as an extension of the We Digs Project (see website link below). The full access database can be made available to enquirers/researchers if requested - contact HER for details].

GIS spatial data created in 2019 to approximate location as shown on 2010 vertical APs. <6>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred NG 6161 1916 (22m by 22m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG61NW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish STRATH

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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