Edin's Hall

Broch, Fort, Settlement

Site Name Edin's Hall

Classification Broch, Fort, Settlement

Alternative Name(s) Edinshall Broch

Canmore ID 58777

Site Number NT76SE 6

NGR NT 77240 60310

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Duns
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Berwickshire
  • Former County Berwickshire

Archaeology Notes

77240 60310.

(NT 7724 6031) Edin's Hall (NAT) Fort & Broch (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1977).

Edinshall: Fort, broch and open settlement (see RCAHMS 1915 plans and illustration). The broch and several of the smaller structures were excavated at various times prior to 1879. (J Turnbull 1882). The relics recovered, which were donated to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS, Accession Nos: GA 112-9) consisted of a stone whorl 1 1/2ins in diameter, a piece of a jet ring, 2 1/2ins in external diameter, an amber bead, 1/2in diameter, found outside the broch, and within it bones and teeth found occasionally in all parts of the building, an oyster shell, a fragment of a translucent glass bracelet, a bronze or brass stud 1/2in high and 3/8in diameter, and an octagonal buckle of bronze or brass, probably of late 15th century date. The two last-mentioned objects have no connection with the original occupation.

R W Feachem 1963; RCAHMS 1915, visited 1914.

The fort, broch, and open settlement at Edin's Hall (Information from DoE {HBM} guide post), are generally as planned by the RCAHMS. The outer defences are still substantial, the ramparts standing in places to a height of about 4.5m above the bottom of the adjacent ditch. The broch has been restored by the DoE and stands almost 2.0m high. Resurveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS(RD) 27 April 1966.

This complex site stands on the NE slope of Cockburn Law (about 210m OD) just above a fairly steep slope down to the Whiteadder Water. The fort consists of a double rampart, each line with an external ditch, enclosing an oval area some 135m E-W by 75m transversely. On the N side the defences continue as stony banks at the top of the slope. The entrance has been in the WSW.

The walls of the broch still stand up to 1.5m high in places. The entrance is in the SSE and has door-checks as well as two guard cells opening off it further in. Three large mural cells open on to the central court which is 16.8m in diameter. The cell on the S has the remains of a stone stairway at its N end which presumably rose to the wallhead. The wall is 5.2m thick so that the overall diameter of the building is some 27m, very large for a broch. A rectangular chamber attached to the outside of the wall at the entrance is a secondary addition, but the sub-rectangular enclosure within which the broch stands is possibly contemporary (RCAHMS 1980, visited 1979).

The final phase of occupation on the site is represented by an open settlement, consisting of a number of circular hut foundations in the E half of the fort. Many of these over- ride the fort ramparts and are therefore later than they are, and probably later than the broch as well.

It may be supposed that the fort belongs to the pre-Roman Iron Age, and that the broch was probably built in the forty-year interval (from A D 100) between the two Roman occupations of southern Scotland, and that the open settlement was perhaps an undefended village under the pax Romana of about A D 140-180 (E W MacKie 1975).

E W MacKie 1975; RCAHMS 1980.

A survey of the site was carried out by the Centre for Field Archaeology between January and March 1996 to determine the effects of rabbit and other damage. A copy of the report has been deposited in the NMRS.

See NMRS MS/726/80.

NT 772 601 Archaeological survey and sample excavation were conducted at Edin's Hall ( ) between January and March 1996 in response to evidence of significant rabbit damage to the earthworks across the site. The following elements of the work have been conducted: 1. a written, photographic and instrument survey of the types and severity of erosion across the site, 2. a topographic and contour survey of the site, 3. sample excavation of nine trenches to examine eroding areas and to examine the character and quality of preservation of the enclosing works of the fort, and the interior of the broch and stone huts; 4. Assessment of palaeoenvironmental potential; 5. excavation of five pits for rabbit traps along the fence line to the S of the site.

Rabbit and gorse cover have both been demonstrated as having significant negative impacts upon quality of preservation. The most intrusive erosion is largely confined to the fort ramparts and ditches enclosing the S and W sides of the site. For the most part the disturbance within the site is relatively superficial, although in places is sufficient to cause significant damage to preserved archaeological deposits and features. The fort ramparts were identified as being of dump construction with retaining walls on their outer edges. Trenches excavated through the S side of the enclosure bank on the S side of the broch revealed it to contain a wall with a well-built outer face, rougher inner face and an earthen core. The wall had secondary rubble banks applied to both sides, and a buried soil ran beneath it.

A trench excavated in the interior of the broch revealed that not all deposits had been removed by previous excavators: paving overlying a layer of cobbling was identified. Two stone huts were examined, revealing the walls to be of complex construction but identifying no more than the residual remains of occupation material within them. A small assemblage of artefacts includes coarse pottery and a stone spindle whorl. Nothing of archaeological significance was revealed in the pits for rabbit traps.

Further details are provided in a Data Structure Report lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

A Dunwell 1996

The site is visible on vertical air photographs (OS 70/365/240 flown 1970, 65/100/145 flown 1965).

Information from RCAHMS (JH) 12 May 1998.

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