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Measured Survey

Date March 2014

Event ID 995963

Category Recording

Type Measured Survey

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/event/995963

This fort is situated on a prominent hillock within mature woodland 220m ESE of Netherholm (formerly Jackschairs) farmsteading. Roughly oval in plan, it measures about 70m from NE to SW by 50m transversely within four lines of defence, of which only the innermost and the second completely encompass the fort. Both of these lines of defence have been reduced to little more than terraces. The third line is a bank measuring up to 6.5m in thickness where best preserved on the E but it tails off to form a scarp around the S side and on the N it has been truncated by cultivation. The fourth rampart measures up to 5m in thickness but for much of its length it is overlain by a substantial plantation bank. Like the third bank it can be traced (as a scarp) around to the SW but it is barely discernible on the NE and NNE where it is overlain by the plantation bank. Excavation in 2007 identified shallow ditches between the banks but evidence for an outer ditch is presumed to have been lost to ploughing. The excavation also demonstrated that the innermost rampart had been stone-faced (Poller and Goldberg 2007).

The entrance on the E appears to be original but it has been mutilated by recent activity, not least the construction of a water tank. A second break, which cuts obliquely through the banks on the SE, is clearly secondary and is probably of comparatively recent origin.

The interior of the fort is dominated by a rocky knoll on the summit on which there are the remains of a small cairn. Elsewhere on the knoll there are a number of platforms, at least three of which appear to represent the remains of circular timber buildings. The platform immediately inside the inner rampart on the W has been set into the natural slope on the E where there is evidence for an eaves-shelf. The front of the platform stands on the line of the inner rampart which must already have effectively flattened by the time the structure was built. Elsewhere, the flattening of the rampart may have been the result of cultivation which appears to have taken place on any relatively flat ground within the interior as well as between the inner and second ramparts.

A shaped sandstone artefact was recovered as a surface find immediately outside the second rampart at the NW during the RCAHMS survey. Measuring a maximum of 160mm in length by 130mm in breadth and 75mm in thickness, the artefact is broken but bears evidence of having its bottom flattened. In its upper surface there are the remains of a hollow (oval on plan but conical in section) which has measured at least 100m in length by 85mm in width and 55mm in depth.

Visited by RCAHMS (GFG, JRS, IP) March 2014.

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