- Category: N/A
- Date Added: 09/05/1939
- Last Date Amended: 10/02/2003
- Type: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: stone rows
- Local Authority: Highland
- Parish: Halkirk
National Grid Reference
- NGR: ND 12290 48574
- Coordinates: 312290, 948574
The monument comprises a set of stone rows, settings of small stones of a type almost unique to Caithness and of prehistoric date but unknown purpose. The stone rows were first scheduled in 1939, but the original scheduling map did not accurately or adequately depict the area of archaeological importance. This re-scheduling proposal extends the protected area to cover the whole area of importance.
There are thirteen or fourteen rows of small upright stones in heather moorland some 300m WSW of the graveyard at Dirlot. The rows radiate outwards slightly to the ESE from a large and a small mound, which may be heather-covered cairns. Each row has several stones fallen or missing, but the overall pattern is clear. The heathery vegetation has masked many of the stones, but the more southerly group of rows appears to be the better preserved. The length of the longest row has been about 35m.
Such radiating alignments, running down gentle slopes with an eastward outlook, are typical of Caithness stone rows. Stone rows are generally classed as ritual monuments, although their precise purpose is unknown. Their relationship to the formation of peat cover and to other monument types in the vicinity has led to their being ascribed a prehistoric, possibly Bronze Age, date (perhaps in the second millennium BC).
The area now to be scheduled is irregular in shape, measuring a maximum of 66m SSW-NNE by 70m transversely, to include all of the rows and the two possible cairns, as well as an area around them in which further remains are likely to survive.
Statement of National Importance
The monument is of national importance as a good example of a set of stone rows, of a type almost unique to Caithness. Such monuments are of prehistoric date but unknown purpose. This site has the potential to provide important information contributing to an eventual understanding of prehistoric ritual activity, specifically, the function of these enigmatic monuments.
RCAHMS number is ND 14 NW 6.
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