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Warehouse West Cairn

Cairn from the west

Rhind’s excavation pit

Warehouse West (ND 305 421) is the highest of the cairns on The Hill of Warehouse; it is topped by a stone built pillar dates to the 19th century. The cairn was originally assumed to be a Neolithic chambered cairn, but when Henry Rhind excavated the cairn he found no chamber but that it contained a cist burial which he took to be typical of the early Bronze Age c. 2500 to 2000 BC . However  it has no known parallels in Caithness in terms of its large cairn size and the dimensions of the cist said to have been 8 ft long 3 ft wide and 4 ft deep (2.44 m x 0.9  m x 1.2 m). The cist contained the ‘skull and bones of a skeleton lying on a quantity of sea shingle’. This description is more consistent with a Pictish or later medieval long cist burial rather than a bronze age short cist interment. This might suggest that the cist was inserted within an earlier cairn possibly Neolithic.


The standing stone on the adjacent mound cannot be assumed to be prehistoric. Its particular position close to the boundary between two estates suggests it may be a relatively modern boundary marker. It is usually necessary to excavate the standing stone sockets in the hope of finding datable material to help resolve such issues.

Continue to the east to Warehouse South chambered cairn.

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