Scheduled Monument

The Ord, chambered cairns, cairns, settlements and field systemsSM1812

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: field or field system; settlement (if not assigned to any more specific type), Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain); chambered cairn
Local Authority
NC 57443 5616
257443, 905616


The monument comprises a landscape of prehistoric sites including two chambered cairns, cairns, a homestead, several hut circles and accompanying field systems including cairns of field-cleared stones. The monument was first scheduled in 1935 but a wholly inadequate area was included to protect all of the important archaeological remains; the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is extensive. The following are the principal archaeological remains. Two large chambered tombs are situated on the summit of The Ord at around 150m OD. The Ord North is a well-preserved circular chambered tomb edged by dry walling and upright stones. It measures about 25m in diameter with an entrance to the SE. The Ord South is the remains of an Orkney-Cromarty type round cairn with a polygonal chamber situated on a rocky knoll. The cairn material has been removed but the chamber appears to have measured about 14m; the entrance was to the ESE. Two further round cairns exist nearby to the ESE, one measuring about 10m in diameter, the other about 7m in diameter. A well-built round cairn measuring about 9m in diameter lies near the summit. A burnt mound is situated on the NE slope of The Ord close to a burn. It measures 14.5m SE-NW by 11.5m and stands to a height of 1.6m. Settlement remains consist primarily of scattered hut circles accompanied by a system of plots, which are made up of low lynchets and banks on which clearance cairns are piled (cairn fields). The hut circles fall into two broad categories, one measuring between 5.5m and 10m in internal diameter, the second, more substantially built and measuring between 9m to 14.5 by 12m internally. At least 20 hut circles are well preserved, and there are traces of several others. A more substantial banked enclosure situated on the SE slope of the Ord has been classified as a homestead and may represent a later phase of occupation than the hut circles. It is circular with an internal diameter of 13m surrounded by a wall of turf and boulders 2m across; this is then surrounded by an outer ditch. The entrance is to the SSW. This homestead was previously scheduled separately.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape with maximum dimensions of 1350 NNW-SSE by 950m NE-SW. It includes all of the elements described above as well as a multitude of small cairns of field-cleared stones and fragmentary walled and banked field enclosures. The area is marked in red on the accompanying map extract. Specifically excluded from scheduling are the fenced enclosure on the summit and the mast and relay stations within it and also the top 30cm of the road and turning area which give access to it from Ord Place. Also excluded are the top 30cm of all public paths associated with the Visitor Centre at Ferrycroft and all stockproof fences and gates in existence at the date this rescheduling takes effect.



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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: 26/05/2024 22:43