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Canmore ID 31055
Site Number NO25SE 18
NGR NO 2796 5084
Parish ALYTH
Former Region TAYSIDE
Former County PERTHSHIRE
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Archaeological Notes

NO25SE 18 2796 5084.

NO 2796 5084 (Inf. from F T Wainwright 1962) The site of what appears to have been a fairly normal souterrain is clearly visible as a long curved depression in the ground. There is nothing now to be seen except the curved depression, but that, combined with a reference by Callander to 'underground dwellings' here is sufficient to justify at least the tentative attribution.
The situation lies on the N slopes of Hell Hole, a basin-like hollow from which flows a spring, immediately to the W of the ridge called Drumderrach.
F T Wainwright 1963; J G Callander 1925

The curved depression described above could not be located and there is no evidence of a souterrain in this area.
Visited by OS (RD) 7 October 1970

A small group of Roman coins discovered at the turn of the century during the clearing out of a souterrain near Auchter Alyth are possibly from this site.
A Small and J D Bateson 1995


Notes NO 279 507 Ploughing on the top of a knoll on the farm of Shanzie, E of Alyth, dislodged two large slabs. Initial investigation revealed a section across a stone-lined souterrain with a paved floor less than 1m below ground level. Trial trenches revealed the full extent of the souterrain and demonstrated that nothing survived of any contemporary settlement as a result of plough truncation and erosion. It was then decided to excavate the truncated remains of the souterrain.
The souterrain is a good example of the Angus type. It consists of a horseshoe-shaped main chamber, up to 2m wide and c 35m long (including entrance passage) with a small (2 x 3m) side chamber close to the entrance. The main chamber is entered by a sloping passage with a sill stone and door checks marking the start of the chamber. The side walls have a basal course of large boulders with smaller quarried rubble above, which stands in places to 1.5m high. The upper parts of the walls were corbelled but none of these larger slabs survives in situ. The floors of the entrance passage and main chamber (but not the side chamber) are paved.
The floor slabs were covered with a shallow layer of charcoal-rich sediment that yielded a small assemblage of pottery and metal objects. Almost all of these finds came from close to the entrance. A small area of rough paving was found in the main chamber overlying this basal fill and was associated with a patch of carbonised grain. Upper fills of the souterrain were more varied, reflecting the later history of the structure. Collapses of large corbel slabs were found in two areas indicating that part of the main chamber fell in. However, most of the main chamber contained small rubble and soil which is believed to result from systematic demolition after the collapses. Part of a glass bottle was found beneath one of the collapses suggesting that it occurred as late as the 18th or 19th century. The recent demolition of the souterrain is also indicated by the fact that the site was formerly known as the Weem Hillock.
Sponsor: Historic Scotland
R Coleman 2000

Further details

Books and References

Callander, J G (1925a) 'Long cairns and other prehistoric monuments in Aberdeenshire and Banffshire, and a short cist at Brucetyon, Alyth, Perthshire', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.59
Page(s): 21-8

Coleman and Hunter, R and F (2002) 'The excavation of a souterrain at Shanzie Farm, Alyth, Perthshire', Tayside Fife Archaeol J, vol.8 Perth
Page(s): 97

Coleman, R (2000b) 'Shanzie, Alyth, Perth and Kirnoss (Alyth parish), souterrain', Discovery Excav Scot, vol.1
Page(s): 70-1

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