Scheduled Monument

Loch of Yarrows, two cairns 700m ENE of South YarrowsSM8521

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
Supplementary Information Updated
Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain)
Local Authority
Planning Authority
ND 31381 43332
331381, 943332


The monument comprises the remains of two cairns, ritual and funerary monuments dating from the Neolithic or Bronze Age.

The cairns lie at approximately 120m OD on a N-facing hillslope overlooking Loch of Yarrows. The W cairn is approximately 9m in diameter and stands up to 1.5m high. The edge of a long, thin slab protrudes from the cairn material indicating the probable presence of a central burial cist.

Approximately 20m to the E, the second cairn stands 1m high and measures roughly 10m in diameter. These burial mounds represent two of three sites described by the antiquarian J Anderson in 1870 as "small cairns with central cists, arranged in a line at a short distance from each other. These were all opened long ago by idlers out of mere curiosity and all contained skeletons."

The area to be scheduled is oblong in shape, measuring a maximum of 60m E-W by 30m N-S, to include the remains described above, and an area around and between them where evidence relating to their construction and use may be expected to survive, as shown in red on the attached map extract.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a well-preserved example of a prehistoric cemetery. Despite antiquarian excavation, it has the potential, through excavation and analysis, to provide information on prehistoric ritual and funerary practices, and contemporary material culture and environment. The presence of a large number of other prehistoric ritual sites in the vicinity further enhances the importance of this monument.



RCAHMS records the monument as ND 34 SW 46 and 47.


Anderson, J. (1870) 'On the horned cairns of Caithness, their structural arrangement, contents of chambers, &c.', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, Vol. 7, 502.

Davidson, J. L. and Henshall, A. S. (1991) The chambered cairns of Caithness: an inventory of the structures and their contents, Edinburgh, 170.

Mercer, R. J. (1985) Archaeological field survey in northern Scotland: volume III: 1982-3, University of Edinburgh, Department of Archaeology, Occasional Paper No. 11 Edinburgh, 22, 30, 222, Fig. 8.

RCAHMS (1911) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Third report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Caithness, London, 175, No. 547.

Stuart, J. (1870) 'Report to the committee of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, appointed to arrange for the application of a fund left by the late Mr A Henry Rhind, for excavating early remains', Pro Soc Antiq Scot, Vol. 7, 293.

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: 20/06/2024 13:56