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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 777267

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NO52SW 1 4007 2485

Formerly entered as NO42SE 58: see running list under NO42SE.

For other military command, training and defensive structures on Tentsmuir Sands, see also:

NO42NE 71-3, 117 and 127

NO42SE 56-7, 77-9 and 81, and

NO52NW 1-8.

An observation tower is situated some 700m NNE of the car park picnic area in Tentsmuir Forest. Built of concrete on brick legs the 'quadrant tower' was used in conjunction with the bombing range on Tentsmuir Sands.

J Guy 1994; NMRS MS 810/3, 139

Site recorded by Maritime Fife during the Coastal Assessment Survey for Historic Scotland, Fife Ness to Newburgh 1996

(Recorded as NO52SW58)

Site recorded by Headland Archaeology Ltd during an archaeological evaluation of Tentsmuir Forest in advance of felling proposals.The results of the evaluation are contained in two reports deposited with Fife SMR and the NMRS.

NO 5008 2485 WWII observation post (NMRS NO42SE 58)..

Sponsors: Historic Scotland, Fife Council, Forest Enterprise

S Carter 1997.

NO 4007 2485 This site, a World War 2 observation post, was recorded as part of an archaeological evaluation of Forestry Commission land in Tentsmuir, Fife carried out by Headland Archaeology Ltd. This evaluation was commissioned by Fife Council Planning Service in advance of Forest Enterprise felling proposals, the work was executed to a brief prepared by Peter Yeoman and Sarah Govan of Fife Council Archaeological Service. The conclusions of this report are slightly different from those of J Guy's (above). Rather than use in conjunction with a bombing range, the team thinks that the observation tower formed part of the coastal defences of Tentsmuir. These were built mainly between 1940 and 1942 when the threat of a sea borne attack were at their greatest. The defences were thought necessary due to Tentsmuir's low sandy coastline being suitable for attack and also the nearby Leuchars airfield needing protection.

Sponsors: Fife Council with support from Historic Scotland and Forest Enterprise

NMRS MS/899/32 (May 1997 Headland Archaeology Ltd)

NO 4648 2633 This report gives an overview and synthesis of the archaeology of Tentsmuir, it should be read in conjunction with MS/899/32 which gives more detail on the archaeological evaluation Headland Archaeology Ltd conducted in the area. The report contains the sections 'The Scope and Aims of the report', 'The geomorphic evolution of Tentsmuir', 'History of archaeological investigation'. It then goes on to look at the archaeology of Tentsmuir, period by period : 'Mesolithic', 'Later prehistoric', 'Medieval and post Medieval', 'Agricultural improvement' amd finally 'World War Two'. Maps and plans for each period are also included.

Sponsors: Fife Council with support from Historic Scotland and Forest Enterprise.

NMRS MS/899/33 (May 1997 Headland Archaeology Ltd.).

The observation (quadrant) towers along the Tentsmuir coast were built to observe the fall of bombs on Tentsmuir Sands, used as a bombing range during World War II. Most are quadrant towers or variants of, and are spaced along the coast to allow observation of the fall of bombs from aircraft.

In addition, records show that Tentsmuir Sands was used regularly by aircraft from Leuchars and other airfields for bombing practice. Photographic evidence of such use can be found in a concrete aiming arrow at c. NO 503 255, a built circular target area at c. NO 504 260, along with at least one bomb crater all visible on RAF vertical air photographs (106G/Scot/UK 33, 3072-3073, flown 25 April 1946), suggesting that the towers are connected with this activity rather than any anti-invasion purpose.

Information from Guy (J Guy, via e-mail, February 2005) also confirms that the towers main purpose was for observation connected to training on the bombing range.

Examples of similar structures can be found all over the country (e.g. see NH87SW 45 - Nigg Bombing range, ND35SW 52, Ackergill and NX96SE 17 and NX96SE 18 ), all being used for the same purpose and this type of tower is also found on inland bombing ranges.

Other observation or command posts can be found on Tentsmuir Sands, but they are not of the quadrant tower type.

Information from RCAHMS (DE), February 2005.

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