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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 779344

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


ND39SW 8 33838 91277

Martello Tower [NAT]

OS (GIS) MasterMap, August 2010.

For associated coast defence battery (ND 3373 9149), see ND39SW 9.

For (associated) Martello tower at Crockness (ND 3242 9344), see ND39SW 10.

The tower was built contemporaneously with the Battery (ND39SW 9) to complement its fire and to provide some protection for the Battery's rear. It, too, was put back into a defensive state in 1866, when a new gun mounting was installed on the roof. SDD has just completed a programme of restoration which has left this tower in superb condition.

R P Fereday 1971; S Sutcliffe 1972; A Ritchie 1985; RCAHMS 1989, visited August 1987.

Martello Tower, Hackness. Built c.1812-18. On the roof, a circular iron track for the 68-pound gun that replaced the original 24-pounder in 1866.

J Gifford 1992.

The two Martello towers at Hackness and Crockness (ND39SW 8 and ND39SW 10 respectively) were evidently constructed to cover the eastern entrance to the defended anchorage of Longhope, situated between the islands of Hoy and South Walls near the southern entrance to Scapa Flow. Their construction has traditionally been associated with the depradations of John Paul Jones.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 4 September 1998.

ND 3373 9149 to ND 3384 9128 The excavation of a water main trench was monitored at Hackness Gun Battery (NMRS ND39SW 9), on the island of Hoy. The trench was dug in September 2000, mostly by machine, partly by hand, and ran from the 19th-century battery (ND 3373 9149) to the Martello Tower (ND 3384 9128; NMRS ND39SW 8), a distance of some 110m.

No features were found outside the Martello Tower, except for the hard-core around the gateways, which is apparently of recent origin. The proximity of bedrock indicates that the tower was, unsurprisingly, built on solid foundations.

Two features in the field relate to the gun battery, the lightning conductor, and the drain immediately outside the battery wall, which may well replace an original drain. Inside the battery the layer of mortar and stone probably represents construction or demolition debris, the clay and stones below this may represent either natural subsoil, or, more likely, a redeposited dump, used as a level building platform.

A further watching brief was undertaken in May 2001 during the machine-excavation of three test trenches. No finds or features were noted.

The turf in a hand-dug trench was of very recent origin, and the rubble it overlay presumably represents building or demolition debris associated with the powder magazine. The slope to the base of this deposit probably represents the edge of the hole into which the magazine has been built, in an attempt to absorb the blast of any accidental explosion. The trenches revealed nothing of archaeological significance.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

D Murray and G Ewart 2001.

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