Scheduled Monument

Skail, homesteadSM10501

Status: Designated


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The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Prehistoric domestic and defensive: homestead
Local Authority
NC 71363 47452
271363, 947452


The monument comprises a prehistoric homestead, visible today as a substantial turf-covered earthwork. The monument is situated on the NE slope of a steep valley, some 300m W of the River Naver and about 700m N of the hotel at Skail. The site sits at about 50m OD and has commanding views to the N, S and E overlooking Strath Naver.

This small defended settlement occupies the summit of a steep-sided spur connected to the hill-slope to the W by a narrow saddle. It comprises the scant remains of an encircling wall, which surrounds a sub-oval fairly level area measuring c.20m NW-SE by 15m NE-SW with a slight counterscarp 0.3m high on the W arc.

This once-substantial stone wall has been robbed away but may represent the base of what was originally a thick-walled roundhouse; alternatively, this wall may have enclosed an area containing smaller buildings.

On the W side, across the saddle at the only practical point of access, is a substantial defensive ditch, 1.2m deep and up to 9m wide. The entrance was most probably located on the SW side. A gully extending into the summit area from the SE may be a later feature.

The monument appears to date to the later Iron Age, from around the time of Christ up to about 500 AD. Previously classified as a possible broch, more recent research suggests that it is more accurately described as a homestead.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found. It is circular in plan with a diameter of 60m, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to an understanding of prehistoric settlement and economy. Its archaeological potential is significant given its good state of preservation and its importance is increased by its proximity to other monuments of broadly contemporary date in the general vicinity.



RCAHMS records the monument as NC74NW 20.


McCullagh R P J and Tipping R (1998) THE LAIRG PROJECT: THE EVOLUTION OF AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE IN NORTHERN SCOTLAND 1988-1996, STAR Monograph Series No. 3, Edinburgh, 67-72, fig. 119.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

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Printed: 24/07/2024 04:08