MHG642 - Cairn A - Battle Moss


One of three burial cairns, with cist, aligned E-W.

Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

ND34SW 46 31401 43329

A heather-covered cairn about 9m diameter and 1m high, dug into in centre. There is no trace of the cist, but several displaced slabs, probably part of it, lie on surface of cairn.
Midway between this cairn and the other cairn close by (MHG2218) is a slight, heather-covered mound about 5.5m in diameter and 0.3m high with its centre hollowed, exposing some stones (see MHG48096). This is possibly the remains of a cairn, but it is too denuded to be certain.
Surveyed at 1:10,000. (Undated) information in NMRS.

(Cairn A: ND3139 4332; Cairn B: ND 3136 4332) Cairns (NR)
(For 'B', see MHG2218)
OS 1:10,000 map, (1976)

(ND 3139 4332) The remains of a long-destroyed cairn, 27ft in diameter, which contained a central cist, lie about 300 yds W of ND34SW 40 (McCole's Castle: chambered cairn).
RCAHMS 1911, visited 1910.

These are probably two of the 'three small cairns, with central cists, arranged in a line at a short distance from each other (see also ND34SW 47 (MHG2218)). These were all opened long ago by idlers out of mere curiosity, and all contained skeletons'.
J Anderson 1870.

The site is in heather moorland at about 120m OD, on a gentle slope which at W end drops quite steeply to loch. In 1851 Rhind listed remains as 'an oblong cairn about 110 feet (35.5m) in length' (Stuart), but Anderson recorded them as 'three small cairns, with central cists, arranged in a line at a short distance from each other'; and RCAHMS recorded them as two cairns some 23m apart, each with a central cist, overall length being about 41.5m. Mercer has suggested recently that a greatly ruined long cairn underlies the two round cairns.
Until deep heather which surrounds & encroaches on monument is removed it is not possible to classify it with confidence. The two round cairns are fairly obvious features, set about 20m apart. The W cairn appears to have a diameter of about 8.5m and 1.5m high measured from lower ground on N side. Within cairn a thin slab set on edge is 1.4m long and exposed to a height of 0.4m, and is preseumably E side of a central cist. E cairn is relatively well defined on W side, but elsewhere is distorted by howking and dumping; c10m in diameter and is only about 1m high. Spreading beyond limits of W cairn, and, after a gap about 1.5m wide, extending to E cairn, is a low heather-covered mound. Along the lower N side its edge is fairly clear but may be deceptive and partly due to the limit of old peatcutting. S side is difficult to define, merging into the moor. The total length of the monument is about 39m, with the axis lying E to W (see also MHG2218 and MHG48096).
Visited by J L Davidson and A S Henshall 20 September 1985; J Stuart 1870; J Anderson 1870; RCAHMS 1911; R J Mercer 1985.

GIS Spatial data created 2018 based OS Master Map. <1>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred ND 3139 4332 (15m by 17m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND34SW
Civil Parish WICK
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (1)

  • HUMAN REMAINS (Bronze Age - 2400 BC? to 551 BC?)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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