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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 708686

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NT02NE 1 0995 2506

(NT 0995 2506) Oliver Castle (NR) (site of)

OS 6" map (1962).

The fragmentary remains of a fort are situated on a low knoll on the SE end of Nether Oliver Dod. The site is protected on the SE by a long slope which falls 200ft to the floor of the valley of the River Tweed, but it is easily approached from all other directions. Stone-robbing and the construction of later building and enclosures, followed by tree-planting, felling and replanting, have caused severe damage.

The fort had two lines of defence (IA, IB) which enclose an area measuring about 200ft by 180ft. They now appear at best as grass-covered banks, the stony nature of which, coupled with the absence of quarry ditches, represent original entrances. On the E side of the interior, fronting on to the inner line of defence, there are three crescentic scarps which may mark the sites of timber houses contemporary with the fort.

Elsewhere in the interior, and spreading over the defences on to the ground to the SW of the fort, there are numerous banks, stony foundations and excavated hollows all of which are clearly later in date than the fort. About 4 acres of ground, formerly under cultivation are enclosed by a field boundary, the ends of which rest on the left bank of the Bield Burn. The site is traditionally supposed to have been occupied by the medieval castle of Oliver, which is mentioned in a document of c.1200. To judge from surface indications, however, none of the more recent remains seems likely to have formed part of a medieval castle, and without excavation, it is impossible to confirm the traditional identification of the site. (See also NT02NE 6)

J W Buchan and H Paton 1927; RCAHMS 1967, visited 1960 and 1961.

The remains of this fort are as described. The date of the later buildings and enclosures can only be determined by excavation, but it seems unlikely that they are associated with a medieval castle.

Surveyed at 1:10560.

Visited by OS (JP), 29 November 1974.

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