Historic Scotland

Opening times

Open year-round.

Facilities

 

History

An ancient site for burials 

Built between 3000 and 2400 BC, this is an excellent example of a Neolithic chambered tomb. It has four cells opening off a central chamber, which is accessed down a passage. Entrance into the tomb today is through the original passage.   

Secondary burials at the Cuween Hill could reflect a continued reverence for the site. A recently discovered settlement nearby is probably contemporary with the cairn, and would likely have been connected. 

Tomb of the dogs 

Exploration at the tomb in 1901 found: 

  • Remains of at least eight humans – five skulls on the floor of the chamber, one at the entrance and two in side cells 
  • The skulls of 24 dogs on the chamber floor 

The dog remains suggest the local tribe or family perhaps had a dog as their symbol or totem, or there may have been a belief in an afterlife for animals. 

The tomb is completely unlit, which serves to both add to the atmosphere and discourage vandalism and graffiti. It also means the tomb is largely free of green algal growth. 

The stonework at Cuween Hill is of particularly high quality. The roof of one of the cells is likely to be original, elsewhere the walls and corbelled roofs have survived to a considerable height.  

Download our visitor app

Discover more on the go – the Historic Scotland app lets you find out about Scotland’s most iconic places wherever you are.

Save with an Explorer Pass

Get free entry to Scotland’s top visitor attractions with an Explorer Pass valid for 3 days or 7 days.

Become a member

Join Historic Scotland to visit our properties free of charge for a full year and support our work at the same time.

Hire a site for filming

Use one of our fantastic locations on your next shoot for an awe-inspiring backdrop to your work.

View learning activities

Our 300+ historic places serve as creative inspiration for all sorts of learning activities – and for learners of all ages.

Search our events

See the past brought to life by the imaginative year-round programme of events at our properties.