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Measured Survey

Date 12 June 2014

Event ID 995985

Category Recording

Type Measured Survey

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/event/995985

The remains of this Iron Age building and its probably contemporary outwork occupy a partly wooded rocky knoll 230m ENE of Easter Coul Cottage. On the SE the knoll drops precipitously to the Pairney Burn; the heavily quarried NE and N flanks drop steeply through the woodland, and on the NW and SW the slope drops fairly gently though unevenly towards arable fields. The summit knoll is surmounted by the fragmentary remains of a circular stone building, possibly of two phases, which measures 11m in internal diameter and over 20m externally. These dimensions, the discovery of Roman Iron Age glass during recent excavation (Poller 2013) and the character of the stonework all invite comparisons with the broch on Castle Craig, situated just 140m to the SE on the opposite side of the Pairney Burn. The excavation also found evidence for the refurbishment of the W side of the summit enclosure in the form of a crude boulder wall and this later period of construction may tie in with the medieval artefacts, including pottery, recovered from elsewhere on the site.

The outer enclosure, which is probably Iron Age in origin and contemporary with the earliest summit enclosure, may also have been refurbished in the medieval period. Irregular on plan, it measures a maximum of 65m from NE to SW by 30m transversely. At the SW end of the site there is a notable gap between the top of the slope and a rocky bluff on which the start of the stone wall can be seen. Constructed with a largely earthen core held in place by inner and outer boulder faces, the gaps in the lower parts being filled with pinning, this wall measures about 3m in thickness and up to 1m in height. On the NW, this wall appears to have been carried across a natural gully on a thick bank and on the N and NE it has been severely truncated by quarrying. Outside this wall on the SW there is a line of seven large boulders which gives the impression of having been artificially placed. However, it does not seem to be the remains of a longer feature such as a defensive wall.

Documentary evidence for this site is limited to a depiction on James Stobie’s late 18th century map of the counties of Perth and Clackmannan on which it is annotated ‘Castle in ruins’ with a symbol also used by Stobie for nearby Castle Craig (NN91SE 11) and Rossie Law (NN91SE 1).

Visited by RCAHMS (GFG, JRS, IP) 12 June 2014.

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