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Date 24 December 2014 - 25 October 2016

Event ID 1044492

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Note


This fort is situated on a steep-sided and precipitous hillock between the foot of the NW flank of Craig Rossie and the gully of the Pairney Burn. The slopes here are particularly steep, while elsewhere on the NE and SE flanks, the latter now extensively modified by quarrying, the lower margin of the hillock falls away in low crags. On the NE and SE these crags seem to define the maximum extent of the interior, while two ramparts have been drawn across the foot of the more gentle and accessible flank on the SW. The outer seems to peter out after a short distance, but the inner can be traced to the lip of the steep slope dropping down to the Pairney Burn, where it probably turned NE along the lip of the gully, though little trace of it can be detected to the SW of a quarry cut into the spine of outcrops dropping down from the summit. To the NE of this quarry, however, it forms a terrace extending to the crags on the NE. Thus defined, the interior forms a rough parallelogram on plan, measuring about 175m from NE to SW by 115m transversely (2.22ha). On the SSW an entrance pierces both ramparts near the S apex, while a gap in the rampart about 5m short of the crags at the N apex probably marks the position of a second. Apart from an inner enclosure crowning the summit of the hillock, little can be seen within the interior on the SW flank, but there are at least four house platforms to the NE of the spine of outcrop dropping down from the summit. The summit enclosure measuring no more than 28m in diameter (0.06ha) within a wall that has collapsed down the slope into a massive scree of debris, which on the N quarter has cascaded into an external rock-cut ditch. Excavations in this summit enclosure recovered a Norse ring-headed pin from amongst the rubble, and showed that it had been constructed over the stump of a demolished broch measuring about 23m in diameter within a wall 5m in thickness; surviving floor levels were buried beneath burnt deposits containing a rich assemblage of artefacts dating from the 1st or 2nd centuries AD and including fragments of glass bangles and vessels, bronze objects and a stone bowl, while a bronze patera was also recovered from the overlying rubble (James 2011). The southern end of the fort defences were also sectioned and a fragment of a shale bangle was recovered. Previous excavations after quarrying in 1978 had destroyed the S terminal of these ramparts, exposed ten pits within the interior, most of which were capped by an area of paving and contained varying amounts of burnt animal bone; a fragment of a shale bangle was also found in one of them (Sherriff 1984).

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 25 October 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2650

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