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Date 14 July 2015 - 31 May 2016

Event ID 1044893

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Note


A small fortification is situated on the crest of the Castle Craigs above Craigluscar. Roughly oval on plan, it measures 51m from E to W by 34m transversely (0.12ha) within a belt of stone faced ramparts, which seems to terminate on the cliff-edge on both the SE and the W. On the N, where there are three, the belt is some 17.5m deep, but only two are clearly visible to either side of the entrance on the E, and it is uncertain whether the outer rampart continued round to the cliff-edge on the SE. The only feature visible within the interior is the footing of a square hut, which is probably associated with the shielings that have been recorded in the vicinity. There is no evidence to suggest that the three ramparts are not all part of a single defensive scheme, but a section cut in 1944-5 across the defences on the N by A H A Hogg revealed that each was of rather different character (1951, 167-8). Whereas the innermost was a well built rubble-cored wall 3.5m thick, with its outer face still standing 0.6m high, the middle rampart appears to have been constructed in two stages, with double rows of facing on either side and a core of yellow clay; the outermost was no more than a mound of rubble with a possible kerb. The general absence of fallen stone led Hogg to suggest that the ramparts were never very high, but there is extensive evidence of stone-robbing elsewhere on the circuit. Hogg also cleared the entrance. That in the middle rampart was a simple gap some 1.8m wide, and a single post-hole was found on the line of its S side a little way to the rear. The gap through the inner rampart was 2.7m wide, but a setting of four post-holes within the passage reduced the width to 1.8m, and a layer of charcoal lay on the slightly hollowed surface of the rock between them. The charcoal layer, and a deposit of burnt soil above it, which did not penetrate below some upright slabs leaning against the sides of the passage, was interpreted by Hogg as the remains of a covered bridge structure, but the presence of these upright slabs suggests that the history of this gateway may have been rather more complex. The only finds from the excavation were a broken shale ring from beneath the core of the middle rampart and a rough stone disc from the burnt earth in the gateway.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 31 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC3178

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