I called in at Tealing on my way up to Aberdeen. I was hoping to have a good nosey around the general area but unfortunately a number of factors conspired to ensure that I arrived at Tealing just as the sun was going down. There is a parking space opposite the farmyard and the earth house is just a small walk away.
What prompted me to visit the Tealing Earth House was the inclusion of two carved rocks in the fabric of the structure. The pair of carved rocks are lovely, the cup and ring carved rock is built into the wall of the structure, the cup marked rock is embedded into the turf that is enclosed within the arc of the structure. The inclusion of these stones couldn't really be anything but a deliberate act, perhaps as a 'nod to the ancestors'.
Earth Houses, Souterrains, Weems, Fogous, call 'em what you like, these are strange structures. We are told that they are possibly defensive structures or storehouses. Personally speaking, I feel that these structures had to be used for more than the usual explanations. The design and care taken in their construction implies that their uses ran to more than Iron Age storerooms or bolt holes. The limited geographical distribution, throughout our islands, of these structures also may imply that they may have had a specific meaning to a specific community. Truth is no-one knows.
The inclusion of the carved stones in the fabric of the building is not unique to Tealing, there are carved stones in the walls of the nearby Mains of Ardestine Earth House and there is a cup marked stone in the Aberdeenshire Souterrain at Clush.
The reuse of carved stones has a long tradition in our islands and abroad, an unbroken lineage from the Neolithic to the present day.
Tealing is a lovely site. The short walk from the parking space involves a low stile, a muddy field path and a kissing gate so may not be suitable for all.
Before I came here I had a look at the restored Dove Cote,there is quite a lot of restoration going on around here.A short waljk down the lane is a gate on the right and a path leads to the Earth House.The site is well looked after and there are quite a few little surprises for the searcher.
Stopped by on my way past, having previously dismissed the signposts as being not worthy of stopping ("Tealing Earth House"-wtf?)
I wasn't disappointed! My first soutterain, would you believe.
I wish I'd seen Nick's instructions first, though... I followed the signs and continued down a farm track, until I spotted something in the distance that looked a likely candidate... Walked through a couple of fields and it turned out to be an old concrete air-raid shelter!! Well, it was very well-preserved... ;)
So don't do that, kids! The real thing is just through the little metal kissing gate in the hedge on your right, up the little path and over the style. About 50 yards from the road.
Tealing is just north of Dundee on the A929. Turn into the village and follow the road round, and look for the signpost. The souterrain is down a track and over a stile in a field behind the doocot (16th century pigeon house). This site dates from approximately 100 AD, and is a well preserved example. These earth houses were covered over with thatched roofs, and used for storage. The cup and ring marked stone at the northern entrance is thought to have been taken from another site and used in the construction. It has been described thus : This souterrain was accidentally discovered during agricultural operations in 1871. It is curved in plan, and the inner end is rounded; it appears to have been divided into two compartments, and is c 80' long. Its greatest width is 8-1/2', 5' from the inner end, and its maximum height is c 6'4". The sloping floor, where it is not natural rock, seems to have been paved. Finds included charcoal, animal bones, a piece of Samian ware (possibly 2nd century), a bracelet, bronze rings, cinerary urn fragments, 10 querns, whorls, and remains of stone cups. It was not known in 1932 where these finds were, but in 1940, a fragment of Roman glassware from a 1st-2nd century 'pillar-moulded' bowl found here was donated to the NMAS. Built into the N wall of the entrance passage, 2' from the doorway, is a cup-and-ring-marked stone measuring 3' by 2', and there is also a cup-marked stone 12' S of the entrance. It measures 4'6" x 2'6" x 6". It remains in a good state of preservation, and enclosed by a fence.
This could be nearby?? Although as no-one has mentioned it, perhaps it isn't any more.
No tradition exists regarding the history of this fragment [a sculptured stone that was in the church], nor of a boulder which is built into a cottage to the west of the parish kirk. The latter is covered with a number of cup-markings, which are locally called "the Devil's Tackets."
The OED says tackets are the hob-nails on the soles of boots. I don't know where the kirk is / was though, still less the cottage.
(Quote from the Proceedings article linked to via Rockartuk's link below).