Scheduled Monument

Achcoillenaborgie, cairns 500m N of Lochan DuinteSM1781

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 ritual and funerary: long cairn
Local Authority
NC 71538 59030
271538, 959030


The monument comprises two long cairns; funerary and ritual monuments dating from the Neolithic period (c. 5000-2000 BC). It was originally scheduled in 1934 and only the above ground structures of the cairns themselves were covered by this scheduling. This rescheduling takes in a larger area to ensure that all the archaeological remains likely to be associated with the cairns are protected.

The monument lies in rough grazing land overlooking the River Naver at around 15m OD. The cairns are set roughly in line, aligned NNW-SSE. Both were excavated at least twice during the late 19th century. The southern cairn measures a maximum of 75m long by 24m wide, narrowing to 13m at the S end, with a maximum height of approximately 3m. The Victorian excavations exposed a chamber near the northern end which measures approximately 8m by 2m by 1.5m deep. This chamber is set at a slight angle to the axis of the cairn and at least two lintel stones are still in position. There are forecourts at both ends of the cairn, defined by horns built out of the body of the cairn, and the fragmentary remains of facades made up of large orthostats. The northern cairn comprises two sections; a heel-shaped, horned cairn containing a roughly circular chamber to the north, and a long cairn to the south. These sections are separated by a gap approximately 2m wide, and it is probable that the two sections once formed a continuous whole, measuring approximately 60m long by 17m wide. The presence of forecourts at either end of this unified monument, following the same pattern as the southern cairn, further strengthens the argument that the two sections once formed one cairn.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them in which material relating to their construction and use may be expected to survive. It is irregular in outline, with maximum dimensions of 150m NNW-SSE by 40m transversely, bounded on the N by a fence, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to our understanding of prehistoric funerary and ritual practices. It may be expected to contain material relating to its mode of construction and use. The cairns are unique in the north of Scotland in their use of upright stones in the façade, and the development and use of these cairns may have continued through most of the third millennium BC.



The monument is recorded in the RCAHMS as NC 75 NW 3.

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

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 03/10/2023 11:27