Scheduled Monument

Berrybrae, stone circle 470m NNE ofSM8

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: enclosed cremation cemetery; ring cairn; stone circle or ring
Local Authority
NK 02759 57162
402759, 857162


The monument comprises a stone circle of prehistoric date, visible as a series of upstanding and prostrate stones. The monument was last scheduled in 1961; it is being rescheduled in order to clarify the extent of the scheduled area. Stone settings of this type are characteristic of the Neolithic and Bronze Age.

The monument is situated on a low artificial platform of clay at an altitude of c.40m OD. It comprises an incomplete recumbent stone circle. Only five stones remain, including the recumbent stone, two massive stone blocks in situ (one of them the W pillar), and two prostrate and broken stones (one of them the E pillar). The stones are set in an oval bank. The interior of the stone circle is lower than the natural ground surface.

Partial excavation of the site in 1976 revealed two main phases of activity. The first phase comprised the construction of the low bank of stones, c.2m wide, which enclosed a roughly circular area, c.12.5m NW-SE by 10.5m transversely. The bank comprised heavy boulders along its SW arc. A recumbent stone of local granite and nine standing stones were erected around the bank's perimeter. A ring cairn was constructed in the central space and three cremations were placed within it. Quartz fragments were scattered near the recumbent stone.

The second phase comprised the destruction of the stone circle, with the exception of the recumbent stone and its huge W flanker. The remaining standing stones were truncated and the ring cairn levelled. The stone-stumps were integrated into a stone wall piled over the former bank, transforming the site into an enclosed cremation cemetery. Charcoal associated with a beaker vessel from this phase yielded radiocarbon dates of around 1500 BC. The bank was reconstructed after excavation in 1976.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to survive. It is circular in shape, with a diameter of 35m centred on the stone circle, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to an understanding of prehistoric ritual and funerary practices. Its importance is increased because there are at least two major phases of activity on this site, and by its proximity to other monuments of potentially contemporary date.



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NK05NW2.


Burl, H. A. W. (1973) 'The recumbent stone circles of North 'East Scotland' , Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., 102, 1969-70, 60, 65, 78.

Burl, H. A. W. (1975) 'Buchan, recumbent stone circles', Discovery and Excavation, Scotland, 1975, 7.

Burl, H. A. W. (1976) 'The stone circles of the British Isles, London and New Haven, 178, 184-6, 350.

Burl, H. A. W. (1976 b) 'Buchan, Berrybrae recumbent stone circle', Discovery and Excavation, Scotland, 1976, 6.

Burl, H. A. W. (1977) 'Berrybrae, recumbent stone circle', Discovery and Excavation, Scotland, 1977, 4-5.

Burl, H. A. W. (1978) 'Berrybrae, recumbent stone circle', Discovery and Excavation, Scotland, 1978, 7.

Burl, H. A. W. (1979) Rings of stone: the prehistoric stone circles of Britain and Ireland, London, 25-39, 55, 57, 124-125.

Coles, F. R. (1904) 'Report on the stone circles of the North-East of Scotland- the Buchan District 'with measured plans and drawings, obtained under the Gunning Fellowship' Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., 38, 1903-4, 288-90.

Shepherd, I. A. G. (1986) Powerful pots: beakers in north east prehistory, Aberdeen, 34.

Shepherd, I. A. G. and Ralston, I. B. M. (1979) Early Grampian: a guide to the archaeology, Aberdeen, 13.

Trans Buchan Fld. Club (1890) 'Excursion to Loch Strathbeg and vicinity, Saturday, 4th August 1888', Trans Buchan Fld. Club, 1887-90, 82.

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: 01/12/2020 09:39