MHG9430 - Chambered Cairn, Achaidh


A short-horned cairn of Orkney-Cromarty type.

Type and Period (2)

  • CHAMBERED CAIRN (Neolithic to Late Iron Age - 4000 BC to 560 AD)
  • BURIAL? (Unknown date)

Protected Status

Full Description

NH69SE 7 6715 9116.
Chambered Cairn (NR) OS 1:10,000 map, (1971)

Achaidh: A short horned cairn of Orkney-Cromarty type, with a polygonal chamber. Excavated by Curle in 1909, the cairn stands in area of recently-cut woodland. Before excavation cairn had been somewhat disturbed but still stood 8ft high. It has been further robbed, especially on N side, and now reaches a maximum height of only 5ft behind the chamber. Then, as now, the edges of the cairn were indefinite, but there can be little doubt that there are horns projecting to ENE, SE, WSW and NW for about 16ft and measuring about 20ft across their bases. The diameter of cairn between the horns N-S is 53ft and E-W 50ft.
On excavation, the chamber was found to contain a layer of sand, over a layer of black oil which covered the flagged floor. From the sand-layer came a flint scraper (now in the NMAS - Acc No: EO 338) and a rim-sherd (EO 339), probably Iron Age. In or on the sand-layer was an adult unburnt skeleton with a few partially burnt fragments of bone, not certainly human.
A O Curle 1910; RCAHMS 1911; A S Henshall 1963. <1>-<3>

This chambered cairn is as described above. It measures some 17m N-S by 16m transversely with indications of horns on W and E sides. The cairn consists of a substantial mound of stones, maximum height about 1.7m. The well-defined chamber measures about 2.8m by 2.1m and the inner end of the passage leading to the chamber can be seen below a large lintel. The lintel covering the outer end of the passage was not located.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (W D J) 25 May 1963.

A chambered cairn, as described and planned.
Revised at 1:10,000. Visited by OS (N K B) 19 September 1980.

This cairn is as previously described. Considerable disturbance has been caused by stone robbing and excavation but none of this appears to be recent.
S Carter and J Wordsworth (Headland Archaeology) 5 February 1997; NMRS MS 899/25, no.12 <4>

NH 66 90 (centre) A short-notice forestry survey was undertaken by Headland Archaeology Ltd over roughly 7.5sq km of land to the W of Spinningdale on the northern shore of the Dornoch Firth. A total of 28 features or groups of features of archaeological interest were recorded, 19 of which had previously been noted. The majority are post-medieval settlement sites (buildings, farmsteads and settlement sites) recorded first by the OS in 1874.
NH 6715 9116 Chambered cairn. (NMRS NH 69 SE 7)
Sponsor: Historic Scotland
S Carter 1997

This site has been photographed by Douglas Scott. Photographs were submitted to the HER in June and July 2011. <5>

The Woodland Trust commissioned Resurgam Archaeology to lead a programme to clear the cairn of all upstanding tree cover in August and September 2000. A brief report was submitted following the works which is linked to this record. <6>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred NH 6714 9116 (6m by 6m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH69SE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish CREICH

Finds (2)

  • VESSEL (Undated)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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.