MHG8855 - Prehistoric occupation site, Caird's Cave


Cave site probably occupied during the Neolithic and known to have been occupied at various stages up until the early 20th century.

Type and Period (5)

  • CAVE (Neolithic to 20th Century - 4000 BC to 1950 AD)
  • OCCUPATION SITE (Neolithic to 20th Century - 4000 BC to 1950 AD)
  • ROCK SHELTER (Neolithic to 20th Century - 4000 BC to 1950 AD)
  • MIDDEN (Neolithic to 20th Century - 4000 BC to 1950 AD)
  • BUILDING (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

(NH 7448 5947) Caird's Cave (NR) OS 6" map, (1959)

Caird's Cave a rock shelter inhabited as late as the opening years of present century. Excavated by Dr Maclean, 1912, when implements of bone, stone and deer horn were recovered including a bone pin inset with amber and of post Roman date (Stevenson 1955). Finds in the NMAS, Acc.No. HM 237. <1> <2> <3>

Caird's Cave, situated at base of a cliff about 20ft OD and approx 14m from shore line, is 9.2m deep, and about 4m high and 10m wide at entrance, which is partially blocked by a rock fall. Large midden deposits containing shells and some animal bones lie in front of cave, and close to these are the remains of an irregulary-shaped building 4m x 3m and 1m high.
Resurveyed at 1/2500 Visited by OS (N K B) 16 March 1966

Desk assessment area.
J Wordsworth, SSSIs, Scottish Natural Heritage, 1993

As part of the ARCH Display the Past project, a large number of objects from the Maclean Collection were loaned from the National Museum of Scotland to Groam House Museum, including many from the excavations at Caird's Cave. The display material produced by the project has been submitted to the HER and a large number of images have been submitted by National Museums Scotland. <4> <5> <6> <7>

Excavations were carried out by the Rosemarkie Caves Project between June and July 2010 to clarify if this was the cave previously excavated by Maclean, the extent of excavations to date and to determine the character and state of preservation of any surviving archaeological deposits. Trenching revealed that the cave had indeed previously been subject to excavation in the early C20 by Maclean. Although extensive intrusive work had previously been carried out, in situ stratified deposits were located within the north eastern half of the cave. These yielded a bone pin and bone working debris. Radiocarbon dates were obtained from this sequence from bone and charcoal with the layers, which gave an estimated range of C4 or C3 century BC to C2 or C3 AD. Additional dating from the worked bone and antler artefacts from the previous excavations at the site provided evidence of activity in the C7th/C8th AD and the post medieval-modern periods. <8>

Finds from the Mclean Collection in the NMS are listed in the NMS catalogue under Acc. Nos. HM 234- HM 277.
Finds from the 2010 excavation are listed in the NMS catalogue under 2010.13.1- 2010.13.14. <9>

Sources/Archives (14)



Grid reference Centred NH 7447 5947 (30m by 30m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH75NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY

Finds (11)

  • TOOL (Undated)
  • NEEDLE (Undated)
  • PIN (Undated)
  • SPATULA (Undated)
  • HANDLE (Undated)
  • WORKED OBJECT (Undated)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • PIN (Early Medieval - 700 AD to 900 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (2)

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