Aberdeenshire HER - NK02NW0013 - SANDS OF FORVIE

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Main Details

Primary ReferenceNK02NW0013
NRHE Card No.NK02NW13
NRHE Numlink 20843
HES SM No. 12520
Site Form Standing Structure
Site Condition Complete 2
Details Remains of kerb cairns, midden, stone built structures and cultivation remains in an area north of settlement NK02NW0002. This area (Area II) which lies on the west facing side of a rounded glacial ridge, appears to have been under a considerable depth of sand when the settlement (Area I - NK02NW0002) was excavated in the 1950s, and so not recorded by those earlier investigations. In1970 the OS Archaeology Division surveyors noted two cairns, then beginning to blow clear of sand. A third cairn was noted emerging from the sand in 1976, to the west of which an old land surface was also revealed. A programme of archaeological investigation was carried out between 1976 and 1980 by I Ralston and K Sabine. The three kerb cairns sit on the summit of the rounded glacial ridge at approximately 29 m OD. All have kerbs composed of boulders, predominantly of granite and metamorphic rock. few of which have maximum dimensions greater than 1 m. Excavation was carried out on the northeastern cairn (A). It measured circa 4.4 m east-west by 4.05 m north-south. Cremated bone was recovered from a central deposit and also distributed in small quantities elsewhere in the cairn fill. Small finds from the cairn fills included sherds of pottery (though no indication of a burial urn), and pebbles and chips of flint and quartz. The cremated bone appear to be the remains of a single adult male, aged between circa 30 and 45 years. Cairn B, the best preserved of the group, measured 5.3 m by 4.2 m, the kerb stones generally evenly sized. Cairn C measured circa 5 m by 4.6 m, but was also flanked on its inner margin by two further arcs of stone, the central area was marked by a low setting of stones. Sampling by 1 m sq excavations in the area west of Cairn A recorded a number of more ephemeral features, including ard markings indicating that much of the area had been cultivated, remains of a large midden, post and stake holes post-dating the ardmarks, a cobbled surface, pebble and beaten-earth floor levels distinguished in the build-up of the midden, and structures set into the upper surface of the midden (including Cairn (A). The features suggest plot divisions, field clearance and domestic structures. Finds included a quantity of flint debitage was seen, and other finds include two fragments of a disc rotary quern with upright handle, fragments of coarse pottery, and a piece of metal slag. Radiocarbon dating suggests these activities took place between the later second millennium BC and the first half of the first millennium BC (the latter the date for the cremation in Cairn A). The flint material recovered from the investigations indicates on-site knapping, the assemblage comprising a wide range of functional types, including flint flakes and pebbles and possible hammer stones. Site visit in 2013 as part of SCAPE coastal zone assessment recorded that three cairns were visible, the furthest north with a substantial kerb structure, No trace of the midden was observed. The features were also recorded by SCAPE in 2022.
Last Update19/02/2024
Updated Bycpalmer
Date of Compilation 

Google Map for NK02NW0013

National Grid Reference: NK 0117 2658

Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
1977 Excavation
1980 Excavation
2013 Field Observation
2022 Field Observation

Excavations and Surveys

Date MDate YTypeDurationDirector / OrganisationAuspicesFundExtent

Artefact and Ecofact

Date MDate YArtefact TypeFinderRecovery MethodConditionStorage LocationAccess No.
 1977 FLINT DEBITAGE IBMR Excavation Personal Possession  
 1977 ROTARY QUERN FRAGMENTS IBMR Excavation Personal Possession  
 1977 POTTERY IBMR Excavation Personal Possession  
 1978 METAL SLAG IBMR Excavation Personal Possession  
 1979 FLINT FLAKES IBMR Excavation Personal Possession  
 1979 HAMMER-STONES IBMR Excavation Personal Possession  


Samples Carbon samples for C14 dating; bone samples; dry-seiving material.
Palynology Pollen analysis ( K Edwards).
Ecofact Notes

Monument Types

Monument Type 1Monument Type 2Monument Type 3OrderProbability