Scheduled Monument

Carn Liath, cairn, ObsdaleSM2970

Status: Designated


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

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: chambered cairn
Local Authority
NH 66621 69520
266621, 869520


The monument comprises the remains of a cairn, a burial monument likely to date to the late Neolithic or Bronze Age (late third to second millennium BC). It is visible as a low mound of stones, surrounded by a modern stone wall, now lying within an arable field at about 20m above sea level, close to the north shore of the Cromarty Firth.

The cairn is round and measures approximately 16m in diameter. The edge of the cairn has been obscured by the later stone dyke  that defines its edge. The cairn survives to a maximum height of 0.8m. Near the centre of the cairn is a substantial capstone covering a stone-lined cist. The stone measures 1.6m east-west by 1m transversely and is approximately 0.5m high.

The scheduled area is circular on plan, measuring 25m in diameter, centred on the monument. The scheduling includes 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. The monument was first scheduled in 1971, but the documentation does not meet current standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it is a late Neolithic or Bronze Age burial cairn with upstanding cairn material and has considerable potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of early prehistoric burial monuments and funerary practices. Ritual and funerary monuments such as this provide the main material evidence for late Neolithic or Bronze Age society in Scotland. This monument is particularly important as it contains a large central cist, and may contain further secondary burials. The cairn is expected to seal other archaeological features and deposits. Its lowland coastal location makes it particularly important when compared with other examples across this part of the Highlands. Our understanding of the distribution, nature and character of prehistoric burial monuments would be diminished if this monument was to be lost or damaged.



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 13615.

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference: MHG8214.

Ordnance Survey Name Book. Object Name Books of the Ordnance Survey (6 inch and 1/2500 scale). Book No. 2: 89.

RCAHMS. 1979. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Easter Ross, Ross and Cromarty District, Highland Region, The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series no 6. Edinburgh: 11, No. 42.

HER/SMR Reference


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 12:07