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Publication Account

Date 1996

Event ID 1016500

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


At least two phases of prehistoric defences crown this prominent hill which rises to 268m OD on the west of the Garioch. The medieval tower was built c 1260, partly from prehistoric stonework and is one of the earliest stone castles in Scotland. Three outer, sketchy, lines of defence have been interpreted as an unfinished fort, probably secondary to the hilltop enclosure. The central line (D on plan), on the hill flanks c 60m down from the summit, is the clearest, being represented by a rampart and ditch at the WSW and ESE, linked by slight marker trenches. The inner and outer lines (e and E) are only evident as breaks of slope in certain areas.

The summit defences consist of two stone walls, the outer (B) being a low stony bank, clearest on the east and absent on the south. The inner (A) represents the vitrified fort, an oblong enclosure 65m by 25m, with no clear entrance. The intensity of the burning that caused the vitrification can be seen in the fused masses of stone lying to north and south; impressions of the burnt-out timbers can be seen in places. A depression under the south-eastern corner of the castle is probably the cistern for the fort.

Seven hut platforms are scooped into the slopes c 45m downslope to north and south of the summit, five on the south and two on the north. The largest is 12m by 7.5m. They probably pre-date the unfinished fort as its marker line (D) respects the outer rim of one of the southern platforms. Opposite Dunnideer, on Hill of Christ's Kirk (N] 601274), are the remains of another unfinished fort represented by three marker trenches enclosing a palisade slot 40m in diameter.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Aberdeen and North-East Scotland’, (1996).

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