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Note

Date 7 May 2015 - 4 January 2017

Event ID 1044518

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Note

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/event/1044518

This fort crowns Moredun Top, which is the very highest of the summits along the Moncrieffe Hill ridge. Its defences represent at least four phases of construction, the earliest of which is a large oval enclosure with its rampart following a natural break of slope round the E, N and W flanks of the hill to enclose an area measuring 197m from ENE to WSW by 100m transversely (1.5ha). This is probably overlain on the ENE by the circuit of a second rampart following another break of slope set a little further back up the hill and enclosing an area measuring 110m from E to W by 76m transversely (0.65ha). A D-shaped annexe representing a third phase is apparently butted onto the N side of this enclosure, crossing the earlier rampart and looping round a series of shelves on the N spur to enclose an area measuring 110m from E to W along the chord formed by the second rampart by 76m transversely (0.65ha). On the E the rampart of the annexe returns into an area of shallow surface quarrying, which has not only obscured its relationship to the second rampart, but also the relationship of that rampart to a substantial stony mound measuring 30m from E to W by 23m transversely and at least 1.5m in height, which lies immediately within its line; it is unclear whether this is the remains of an earlier cairn occupying a false-crest position on the shoulder of the hill, or perhaps some substantial later structure such as a broch, dominating the view northwards across the Tay at Perth. Leaving this mound aside, a stone-walled enclosure on the very summit is likely to represent the fourth and last structural phase in the defences of the fort, though its relationship to the second rampart on the S cannot be demonstrated stratigraphically. Measuring 53m from NW to SE by 38m transversely (0.15ha) within a wall reduced to a mound of rubble up to 13m in thickness by 1m in height, a substantial external face has been exposed in what may be an undocumented antiquarian excavation on its W side. Three hut-circles, which can be seen within the N part of the interior of this small enclosure, and a fourth lying a short distance outside it, may represent a later, essentially, unenclosed settlement on the fort. The only other features of note within the overall area enclosed by the defences are a pond at the W end of the area enclosed by the second rampart. Apart from a source of stone, however, the summit has remained a natural vantage point long after the defences were abandoned and the site was evidently incorporated in a woodland setting into the design of the landscape around Moncrieffe House, which may account for the trackway driven through the W side of the annexe and up though what was probably an original entrance gap in the first two ramparts on the N, to cut across the wall of the summit enclosure on the NE; a socketstone for a flagpole set into the rubble of the wall on the S, and the anchor points for four stays, possibly mark its destination. Another trackway descends the S flank of the hill via what is probably another original gap in the second rampart.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 04 January 2017. Atlas of Hillforts SC3035

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