Scheduled Monument

Bogallan Wood, cairn 105m SW of The CroftSM3121

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
29/12/1971
Last Date Amended
17/01/2020
Type
Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain)
Local Authority
Highland
Parish
Knockbain
NGR
NH 64410 50298
Coordinates
264410, 850298

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a prehistoric burial cairn, dating to the Neolithic or Bronze Age between around 4000 to 800 BC. It survives as a partially grass-covered stone mound measuring up to around 25m in diameter and standing up to around 2m in height. It lies on the western end of Drumderfit Hill at around 90m above sea level, overlooking the valley of the Littlemill Burn to the north.

The scheduled area is irregular. It includes the remains described above and an area around 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 scheduling specifically excludes the above ground elements of all post and wire fences and animal pens within the scheduled area, to allow for their maintenance.

Statement of National Importance

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (See Annex 1 para 17 of principles and practice for designation):

a. The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the past as a well-preserved example of a prehistoric burial cairn with minimal evidence of disturbance. In particular it adds to our understanding of prehistoric burial practices.

b. The monument retains structural, architectural, decorative or other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular, there is potential for the preservation of buried features and deposits, including structural remains such as a passage and chamber, and human burial, associated grave goods and environmental or palaeobotanical remains. It also retains significantly more cairn material than many other examples of cairns in this area of the Black Isle, including Balnaguie (SM2313), Belmaduthy (SM4613) and Kilcoy North (SM4606). This may in turn have aided the preservation of archaeological deposits beneath the cairn.

c. The monument is a rare example of an apparently little disturbed prehistoric burial cairn, with no known previous excavation of the monument, within an arable farming landscape.

d. The monument is a particularly good example of a prehistoric burial cairn on the Black Isle and is therefore an important representative of this monument type.

e. The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past, in particular, it holds the potential to enhance our understanding of prehistoric ritual and funerary practices within Scotland, and there is high potential for archaeological evidence to survive in and around the monument.

f. The monument makes a significant contribution to today's landscape and/or our understanding of the historic landscape by its location on the western end of Drumderfit Hill, overlooking the valley of the Littlemill Burn to the north, although the modern Bogallan Wood affects its line of sight to the north.

g. The monument has significant associations with historical, traditional, social or artistic figures, events or movements through its later association with the battle of Blar-na-coi. Local tradition in the 19th century stated this battle was fought in the area in the medieval period, and that the cairn itself was erected as a memorial to the battle.

Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance

Intrinsic Characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)

The monument is a well-preserved example of a prehistoric burial cairn. It survives as a substantial stone-built mound around 25m across and 2m high, which is comparable to other examples. The cairn appears largely undisturbed and it is highly likely that features survive within the body of the cairn such as burials.

It is unclear from the available evidence whether the monument is a chambered cairn dating from the Neolithic period around 4000 – 2500 BC or later example without chambering from the Bronze Age around 2500 – 800 BC. Archaeological evidence within the monument itself would provide more accurate information on the type and date of construction of the cairn.

Given the good level of preservation of the cairn, 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 Neolithic and 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 barrow. The monument therefore has the potential to enhance our understanding of the nature and development of prehistoric monumentality and burial, the nature of belief systems, ceremonial and burial practices.

Excavation of similar large cairns have also demonstrated a complex construction sequence to create the final structure. Such evidence indicates not only how such a structure was built, but in some cases how it was used as a place of internment. Scientific study of the cairn's form and construction techniques compared with other prehistoric burial cairns would also enhance our understanding of the development sequence of this site and of cairns in general.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

Prehistoric burial cairns are found throughout Scotland. This example is one of a small cluster of similar monuments located on the Black Isle, including at Balnaguie (SM2313), Belmaduthy (SM4613), Carn Glas (SM3123 and SM 3213) and Kilcoy North and South (SM4606 and SM4650).

Prehistoric burial cairns are found in a variety of locations. Some are placed in conspicuous locations within the landscape, such as on the summits of hills or on the shoulders of hills, perhaps to be seen on a skyline or otherwise in profile. Others are found in less conspicuous locations, for example on valley floors. Relationships to routeways and/or other ritual sites, locations near to good upland pasture and views over specific areas of land may also have had significance. Some later cairns are located with higher ground on two or more sides. This means that the cairn is hidden from certain directions and often have more restricted views.

The cairn at Bogallan Wood is positioned at the western end of Drumderfit Hill, overlooking the valley of the Littlemill Burn to the north, and even today the cairn is a prominent feature in the landscape. It occupies an open position and would have had extensive views of the landscape in all directions, particularly across and along this stretch of the valley of the Littlemill Burn, although the modern Bogallan Wood affects its line of sight to the north. Burial monuments such as this are one of our main sources of information about the nature of Scotland's prehistoric society and landscape.  These monuments can give important insights into the prehistoric landscape and add to our understanding of social organisation, land division and land-use.

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)

The monument has developed a later link with the medieval battle of Blar-na-coi, believed to have been fought in the area between the inhabitants of Inverness and the Clan Donald. This local tradition was first recorded in the mid-19th century and states that the cairn itself was erected in 1340 to commemorate the battle.

References

Bibliography

Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 13611 (accessed on 07/11/2019).

Highland Council HER Reference MHG8217 (accessed on 07/11/2019).

Henshall, A.S. and Ritchie, J.N.G. (2001) The Chambered Cairns of the Central Highlands, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh

MacSween, A. and Sharp, M. (1989). Prehistoric Scotland. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd.

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

Bogallan Wood, cairn 105m SW of The Croft, looking north, on a bright day
Bogallan Wood, cairn 105m SW of The Croft, looking west, on a bright day

Printed: 22/07/2024 03:07