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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 661929

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NH64NW 6 6400 4527.

NH 6400 4527) Vitrified Fort (NR)

OS 6"map, (1959)

(NH 6400 4529) Cistern (NR)

OS 25"map, (1964)

An oval vitrified fort, forming a flat crown to the afforested hill of Craig Phadrig.

It consists of an inner, heavily vitrified wall spread to a thickness of about 30', which encloses an area measuring 245' by 75'. An outer wall, also heavily vitrified, lies at distances varying between 45' and 75' outside this. Any other details are obscured by vegetation. (R W Feachem 1963) There is no evidence to show that the two walls are contemporary. (R W Feachem 1966)

Cotton (M B Cotton 1954) observed an entrance in the W of the outer wall, and traces of a third wall on the S side, also states that the inner wall may have had four bastion-like structures near the rounded corners.

According to Wallace (T Wallace 1921), there is a small earthen tumulus with a stone in its centre, within the fort, and a portion of the NE corner was marked off from the rest by two rows of earthfast stones in the form of a rectangle. He could not trace a well, said in 1783 (F Tytler 1783) to be 6' in diameter. This is the reputed scene of the visit of St Columba to Brude, son of Maelchon, king of the Picts, and the latter's conversion to Christianity. (information from C W Phillips' D A Index)

R W Feachem 1963, 1966; M B Cotton 1954; T Wallace 1921; F Tytler 1783; Adamnan 19 .

A vitrified fort, as described by Feacham (R W Feachem 1966). The inner turf-covered wall is well defined, surviving to c. 1.2m above the interior, with an entrance in the NE indicated by a slight depression. Immediately outside this entrance is a stony causeway which spans the gap between the two walls.

The outer wall is reduced to a terrace except in the SW and NE where it survives as a turf-covered stony bank c. 0.8m high. The entrance is not evident but it was probably in the E arc where there are two slight depressions in the bank. Cotton's alleged entrance (M A Cotton 1954) in the W is due to mutilation.

The third wall observed by Cotton (M A Cotton 1966) is a hornwork outside the E arc of the outer wall. It is defined by a reduced turf-covered stony bank which springs from the E corner of the wall and runs N to rejoin it opposite the entrance through the inner wall. There is an entrance gap near its S end up to which runs an ill-defined hollow way.

There is no trace of any structure within the fort except the alleged cistern which is a hollow c. 3.0m across at the lowest point within the central area, but there are several similar hollows around it.

Survey at 1/2500 (Visited by OS (W D J) 29 March 1962).

Visited by OS (A A) 25 August 1969.

Excavation by Small and Cotton during 1971 (A Small and M B Cotton 1972) has established the vitrified character of the inner rampart. Radio-carbon dates suggest the mid-4th cent. BC as the period of construction. Similar dates were obtained from the outer rampart which appears to be only in part timber-laced, several parts being entirely constructed of earth sometimes retained by revetting walls. A further season's excavation is essential before definite conclusions can be reached, however.

The fort appears to have been destroyed soon after construction. Post-destruction domestic occupation has been recorded before 150 BC and up to c. 400 A. D. The most important find is the clay mould for the escutcheon of a hanging bowl.

A Small and M B Cotton 1972; A Small 1972.

NH 640 452 An archaeological watching brief was carried out on 11 September 2006 at Craig Phadraig, Inverness, during construction of a footpath. No features or artefacts of archaeological significance were found.

Report lodged with Highland SMR and Library Service, and NMRS; archive will be deposited with RCAHMS.

Sponsor: Forestry Commission Scotland.

John Wood, 2006.

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