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Date 6 August 2007 - 26 August 2007

Event ID 558625

Category Recording

Type Excavation


NO 0720 1680 The fort is defined by four ramparts and at least three ditches on the eastern side. The innermost rampart is coincident with the natural break of slope, and the site could be described as a ‘contour’ hillfort. The excavation undertaken between 6–26 August 2007 was intended to investigate the sequence and composition of the ramparts and a portion of the interior. A single trench (35m long and 1.5m wide) was located to the E of the entrance and cut through the visible surface features of the ditches and ramparts and into the interior of the hillfort.

Preservation of archaeological deposits in the interior of the hillfort was greatest immediately behind the innermost bank (rampart 1) and here the trench was expanded by 1.5m to the N and S to expose surface features and the rear of the rampart. These revealed that rampart 1 was faced with three courses of sandstone blocks, which survived to a height of 0.76–0.9m. Orthostatic slabs defined a corridor running parallel

with rampart 1. Excavation revealed fragments of paving, a curvilinear stone setting/paving relating to a larger structure, and several charcoal-rich pits with evidence of in situ burning. A destruction layer was preserved in places leaving other charcoal rich deposits.

Evidence for the construction of rampart 1 suggested that redeposited natural from the inner ditch (ditch 1) formed an earthen core that preserved elements of the old ground surface. The inner stone facing of Rampart 1 was integrated into the earthen core and incorporated a large orthostatic boulder, which provided structural integrity for a large posthole cut into the rampart, suggesting both stone and substantial timber construction. The exterior face of the rampart also looks to have been faced in stone although only a few stones remained

in situ. Evidence for the destruction of an early timber phase was preserved in the primary deposits of Ditch 1 which consisted of charcoal-rich deposits on the sides of the ditch and a grey ashy deposit in the base. These were sealed under a later deposit which related to a stepped construction cut into the natural subsoil as part of the construction of Rampart 2. A fragment of hand-made coarse pottery was recovered from ditch 1 beneath

a large deposit of tumbled stones, evidence of a stone walling or revetment on the outer face of Rampart 1.

The outer ramparts were simple earthen dumps, quarried from the intervening ditches. No outer ditch could be located. The outermost rampart (rampart 4) had a trickle of small stones running along its crest which may represent the location of a heavily eroded palisade. From the excavations it would appear that the earliest phase of the fortifications was limited to an inner bank and ditch, which was later elaborated by the addition of three ditches possibly all at the same time.

Archive currently deposited with the Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow.

Funder: British Academy, Historic Scotland, Department of Archaeology University of Glasgow, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

T Poller, M Goldberg and S Driscoll 2007

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