Scheduled Monument

Caen, long cairn and round cairn 470m and 490m W ofSM1770

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
Last Date Amended
Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse, Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain); long cairn
Local Authority
ND 01224 17759
301224, 917759


The monument is a chambered long cairn dating from the Neolithic period, probably built between 3800 BC and 2500 BC, a round cairn, probably Bronze Age in date (between 2500 BC and 800 BC), and a roundhouse, likely dating to the Late Bronze Age or Iron Age (between 1500 BC and AD 400). The long cairn is visible as a substantial trapezoidal cairn of exposed stone.  The round cairn visible as a small mound of earth and stone, the roundhouse as a small upstanding structure defined by a penanular bank of turf and stone. The monument is located on a level terrace on the hillside overlooking the Strath of Kildonan, about 38m above sea level.                       

The long cairn measures about 53m in length by 19.5m in width at the east end, narrowing to around 10m at the west end. It reaches a maximum height of about 3m near the eastern edge, reducing in height towards the west end which is parallel-sided and squared. The cairn has been robbed and disturbed in places, and the presence of a chamber is indicated by two large parallel slabs visible in the disturbance at the eastern end. The round cairn and roundhouse both lie about 10m south of the west end of the long cairn, set around 4m apart. The round cairn lies to the west and measures about 5m in diameter and about 0.6m in height, while the roundhouse is around 3m in diameter within low turf and stone walls with an entrance on the southwest.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan, 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

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular the design and construction of burial monuments, and the nature of burial practices and their significance in Neolithic society, as well as Bronze Age and Iron Age society, agriculture and economy in the north of Scotland. The long cairn is a visually impressive monument that retains its field characteristics and demonstrates a complex development sequence. It can be compared with a varied group of other long cairns that survive in the vicinity. The burial cairn and roundhouse are good examples of a burial monument and later prehistoric settlement located with reference to an earlier ritual monument. Chambered cairns are often our main source of evidence for the Neolithic in Scotland, and can  enhance our understanding of Neolithic society and economy, as well as the nature of burial practices and belief systems. They are an important component of the wider prehistoric landscape of settlement, agriculture and ritual. Round cairns and roundhouses can significantly expand our understanding of burial practices and belief systems, domestic buildings, agriculture and economy during later prehistory. The monument's importance is enhanced by its association with a wider cluster of later prehistoric remains. The loss of the monument would diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the meaning and importance of death and burial in the Neolithic and Bronze Age and the placing of cairns within the landscape, as well as our understanding of Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements, society and economy and the influence of Neolithic ritual monuments on the siting of later prehistoric ritual and domestic sites.



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 7486, 7440, 7445

The Highland Council HER references are MHG10161, MHG10292, MHG10132.

Fairhurst, H. and Taylor, D. B. (1974) A hut-circle settlement at Kilphedir, Sutherland, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. 103, 1970-1.

Henshall, A S. (1963) The chambered tombs of Scotland, vol. 1. Edinburgh.

Henshall, A.S. and Ritchie J.N.G. (1995) The chambered cairns of Sutherland. Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh.

MacIntyre, A. (1998) Survey and excavation at Kilearnan Hill, Sutherland, 1982-3. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. 128, 167-201.

RCAHMS. (1911) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Second report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Sutherland. Edinburgh.

HER/SMR Reference

  • MHG10132
  • MHG10292
  • MHG10161

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.

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Printed: 25/07/2024 10:28