MHG963 - Chambered Cairn, Achnagoul


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Type and Period (1)

  • CHAMBERED CAIRN (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)

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Full Description

Burial Chamber (NR) OS 1:10,000 map, (1979)

An Orkney-Cromarty, Camster type, probably round chambered cairn. It has been almost entirely removed, but the edge can be traced in the SW quadrant and suggests an original diameter of 60 to 70ft. Six large upright slabs indicate the position and plan of the chamber. The entrance has been from the SSE, the outer end probably being marked by a small slab 10ft within the apparent cairn edge. The outer chamber was 5ft long, the centre one about 9 by 7ft; nothing remains of the inner chamber.
RCAHMS 1911; A S Henshall 1963.

All that remains of this cairn are the six stones of the chamber, and the seventh at the entrance to the passage, as described and planned by Henshall (1963).
Surveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (N K B) 13 March 1968.

No change. Visited by OS (JM) 20 October 1982.

The last remains of cairn are at 95m OD, in field of pasture above Burn of Houstry. The edge of cairn is just discernible round SW quadrant and suggests an original diameter of roughly 21m. The slight flattening of S and W sides is probably due to former ploughing rather than reflection of a heel-shaped plan. The small amount of cairn material remaining is turf-covered and on other sides merges with slope of the low knoll on which cairn was built. W side of cairn is crossed by a wall against W side of which is a pile of field-gathered stones.
Within cairn is a group of upright slabs belonging to a chamber planned on a SSE to NNW axis. About 3m from S edge of cairn is a slab 0.8m long, 0.3m thick and 0.55m high. This has presumably been a portal stone on W side of entrance to passage. A pair of slabs 2.85m to N evidently formed portal between passage and chamber. The slabs are 0.7m apart, 1 and 1.1m long, 0.4 and 0.3m thick, and 0.7m high. Between them lies a substantial slab 1.2m long, 0.65m in max width and 0.2m thick, probably a displaced lintel. A pair of inner portal stones is 1.75m further N. The slabs are 0.65m apart, 0.95 and 1.1m long, 0.5 and 0.25m thick, and 1.6 and 0.85m high. The northernmost slab of group is almost certainly back-slab of chamber as its E end terminates on axis and possibly extends further E below turf. The slab, which leans slightly outwards, is 1.1m long, 0.2m thick and 0.35m high. A sixth slab has formed part of W wall of main chamber. This slab is 0.8m long, 0.4m thick and 0.8m high. The side-slab is only 0.3m from adjacent transverse slab but 1.2m from back-slab. The length of main chamber from E end of tall W transverse slab is 2.5m.
Visited 4 September 1986. J L Davidson and A S Henshall 1991.

This cairn is as described by Davidson and Henshall (1991) and the position of the chamber was resurveyed for the OS 1:2500 revision programme.
Visited by RCAHMS (SH) August 1997

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred ND 1568 3247 (80m by 80m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND13SE
Civil Parish LATHERON
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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