Scheduled Monument

Mulchaich, chambered cairn 80m NE of AuchencairnSM3145

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: chambered cairn
Local Authority
Planning Authority
Highland, Highland
Urquhart And Logie Wester
NH 57663 56800
257663, 856800


The monument is a chambered cairn dating from the late Neolithic period to the early Bronze Age (between 3800 and 2500 BC). The cairn is visible as a mound with exposed kerbs and is located on a grassy knoll overlooking the Cromarty Firth. It lies around 75m above sea level.

The cairn consists of two kerbs; the outer kerb, marking the edge of the cairn, is sub-circular on plan and measures 50m northwest to southeast and 40m transversely. It follows the base of the knoll and consists of small boulders measuring 0.3m-0.5m in height. The inner kerb, centred on the cairn, is roughly circular and measures 17m in diameter. Surrounding the top of the knoll, the inner kerb is formed by larger boulders each measuring around 0.5m in height. On the south southwest edge of the inner kerb, one of the kerb stones is cup-marked with 15 cups. In the centre of the cairn, two large exposed stones may be uprights of a central chamber. A large flat slab within the inner kerb area could be the capstone, or formed part of the roof, of the chamber. The monument is located on a locally prominent rise of ground on a gradual northwest facing slope which runs to the coast and estuary some 1.5km northwest.

The scheduled area is sub-circular on plan and 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 post and wire fence to the east of the monument is excluded from the scheduling. The monument was first scheduled in 1971, but the documentation did not meet current standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to our knowledge and understanding of the past, particularly the design and construction of burial monuments, and the nature of belief systems and burial practices during the late Neolithic period and early Bronze Age in northern Scotland. The cairn has good field characteristics, allowing us to interpret its form, function and position in the landscape and has potential for the presence of buried archaeological remains, including burials, artefacts and palaeoenvironmental evidence. Architectural features such as the inner and outer kerb and the likely remains of a central chamber are notable. The cup-marked stone forming part of the inner kerb is an unusual feature and adds to the importance of the cairn. There are other cairns in the vicinity of the monument, which together can contribute to our understanding of the form and nature of the prehistoric landscape.  This is important for enhancing our understanding of late Neolithic and early Bronze Age society, its organisation, economy, religion and demography. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand funerary practice, death and burial in prehistoric times, and the placing of such monuments within the landscape.



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 12763 (accessed on 06/05/2015).

The Highland Council Historic Environment Record reference MHG41549 (accessed on 06/05/2015).

Childe, V G. (1944). 'An unrecognised group of chambered cairns', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquities of Scotland, vol. 78. Page: 34.

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

Malone, B. (2008). 'Mulchaich Farm, Alcaig, Highland (Urquhart and Logie Wester parish), evaluation', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, vol. 9. Cathedral Communications Limited, Wiltshire, England. Page: 118.

RCAHMS. (1979) Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of the Black Isle, Ross and Cromarty District, Highland Region, Edinburgh. Page: 8, No. 16.

Woodham, A. (1956). 'A survey of prehistoric monuments in the Black Isle', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquities of Scotland, vol. 88. Pages: 72-3.

HER/SMR Reference

  • MHG41549

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: 25/07/2024 07:17