Scheduled Monument

Eadar a' Chalda, cairn 385m ENE ofSM13697

Status: Designated

Documents

Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (https://portal.historicenvironment.scot/termsandconditions).

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.

Summary

Date Added
29/08/2018
Type
Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain)
Local Authority
Highland
Parish
Assynt
NGR
NC 24700 23956
Coordinates
224700, 923956

Description

The monument is the remains of a round cairn, dating to the Bronze Age (between around 2500BC and 800BC). It survives as a heather covered stony mound measuring around 6m in diameter and standing up to about 2m in height. The monument is located below the summit of a small hill, at about 130m above sea level.

The scheduled area is circular on plan with a diameter of 26m to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

Cultural Significance

The cultural significance of the monument has been assessed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics

The monument is a well-preserved example of a prehistoric burial monument which does not appear to have been disturbed. Cairns are a characteristic form of Bronze Age monument in Scotland. Cairns of this type, however, are relatively rare in northwest Scotland. The cairn survives as a low heather-covered stony mound, measuring around 6m in diameter and standing to a maximum of 2m in height. As with other types of cairn, the monument is likely to contain one or more burials or cremations.

Given the good level of preservation, there is a high potential for the survival of human remains, associated grave goods and environmental or palaeobotanical remains. Such archaeological deposits can help us to better understand beliefs surrounding death and burial in the Bronze Age, as well as funerary rites and practices, trade and contacts, social organisation and the climate and local vegetation at the time of construction. These deposits can help us understand more about the practice and significance of burial and commemoration of the dead at specific times in prehistory. There is also good potential for the survival of secondary or 'satellite' burials and related archaeological evidence for funerary pyres or other funerary activity in the area surrounding the cairn.

Archaeological survey in this area may reveal further unrecorded examples. This would increase our knowledge of this type of monument and improve our understanding of their distribution and survival.

Contextual Characteristics

Cairns of this type are rare in this part of Scotland which are relatively more common in lowland Scotland. There are few other recorded examples, other than those visited as part of the North West Cairns project. These include Kylestrome, cairn SSW of (SM1800; Canmore ID 4677) and Creag Sron Chrubaidh, cairn 1km SSW of Inchnadamph Hotel (SM13696; Canmore ID 136086). The relative scarcity of such monuments is particularly notable when compared to the number of chambered cairns, which are earlier dating to the Neolithic period, in the same area. This contrast may be due differences in discovery and survival but could also reflect changing burial practices or population change. The study of the distribution of prehistoric funerary monuments in this locale could therefore further contribute to our understanding of the Neolithic and Bronze Age in this area.

Bronze Age cairns in this area are often located with higher ground on two or more sides. This means that the cairn is hidden from certain directions. There is always one open aspect to the cairn usually with a view or connection to lower lying ground often beside a water course. The cairns are normally prominent from the lower lying land; this aspect usually appears as the highest side of the cairn. These cairns are typically located in areas where there are naturally occurring outcrops of the bedrock which the cairn appears to emulate.

The monument at Eadar a' Chalda is positioned below the summit of a small hill on a southeast facing slope. It overlooks an area of lower lying ground and the confluence of the Allt a' Chalda Mor and Allt nam Breac to the southeast. The cairn stands higher on the southeast and is most prominent when viewed from this direction.

Associative Characteristics

There are no known associative characteristics that contribute to this site's national importance.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a prehistoric cairn which can make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, particularly the design and construction of burial monuments, the nature of burial practices, and their significance in Bronze Age and later society. The cairn is particularly important as it appears to be a well-preserved, rare type of burial monument in the Highlands of Scotland. As such it adds to our understanding of differing forms of burial monument and ritual and funerary practices during the Bronze Age. The monument contributes to our understanding of the form, function and distribution of Bronze Age burial monuments. Funerary monuments are often our main source of evidence for the Bronze Age in Scotland and so are an important element in our understanding of the nature of Scotland's prehistoric society and landscape. Because of the rarity of upstanding cairns of this scale and date in this part of Scotland, the loss of this monument would significantly diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape and the meaning and importance of death and burial in prehistoric times.

References

Bibliography

Highland Historic Environment Record Reference: MHG29319 (accessed on 08/06/2018).

Cavers, G. and Hudson, G. (2010) Assynt's hidden lives: and archaeological survey of the parish, AOC Archaeology Group.

HER/SMR Reference

  • MHG29319

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 www.historicenvironment.scot.

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

Images

Eadar a’ Chalda, looking northeast, during daytime, on clear day with cloudy sky.
Eadar a’ Chalda, looking south, during daytime with cloudy sky.

Printed: 23/06/2024 06:26