Scheduled Monument

Bell Knowe, cairn, RhynieSM11575

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (


Date Added
Prehistoric ritual and funerary: barrow, Secular: mound (unallocated to other category)
Local Authority
NJ 49794 26549
349794, 826549


The monument comprises a mound of rounded boulders and pebbles set in a matrix of sandy soil. It lies on the crest of an E-facing slope in pasture, overlooking the valley of the Water of Bogie.

The mound measures 17m in diameter and 2m in height. The size, regular shape and location within the landscape indicate that it is a burial cairn, dating to the Bronze Age.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the cairn and an area around it in which evidence for its construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area excludes the fence on its W and S edges, to allow for their maintenance.

Statement of National Importance

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: While there is rabbit damage around the edges of the cairn, the centre of the cairn is intact and does not appear to have been disturbed. It is likely, therefore, that the burial or burials are undisturbed. In addition, it is very probable that the cairn preserves the remains of the old land surface beneath it, and possible evidence for agricultural practices predating the cairn.

Contextual characteristics: In Aberdeenshire round cairns were mostly built during the early part of the Bronze Age, in the second millennium BC. They are usually the burial place of one individual and often cover a stone cist into which the body was placed, the knees drawn up to the chin and often accompanied by a beaker and sometimes by objects of flint, fine stone, jet or amber. A small mound of upcast soil covered some, but stone cairns or turf barrows sealed others. Characteristically, prehistoric people sited these in conspicuous, skyline locations.

Associative characteristics: The site is so-called because the church bell (dated 1620) was hung in a wooden frame on it before 1823 so that it might be better heard.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular of the burial practices of the Bronze Age in Aberdeenshire and the cultural links between Aberdeenshire and other areas of Scotland in this period of prehistory.



RCAHMS record this monument as NJ42NE 31.


Eeles F C and Clouston R W M 1960, 'The church and other bells of Aberdeenshire. Part II', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 91, 1957-8, 102-3.

ORDNANCE SURVEY NAME BOOK (COUNTY) Original Name Books of the Ordnance Survey Book No. 78, 155.

Shepherd I A G 1986, EXPLORING SCOTLAND'S HERITAGE, Edinburgh, 141-143.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for the designation of buildings, monuments, gardens and designed landscapes and historic battlefields. We also advise Scottish Ministers on the designation of historic marine protected areas.

Scheduling is the way that a monument or archaeological site of national importance is recognised by law through the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments of national importance using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The description and map showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The additional information in the scheduled monument record gives an indication of the national importance of the monument(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the monument(s). The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief and some information will not have been recorded. 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

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


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Printed: 20/03/2019 22:12