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Measured Survey

Date 30 April 2014

Event ID 997912

Category Recording

Type Measured Survey


NS 8324 9736 A topographic survey was undertaken on 30 April 2014 of the fort known as Castle Law, c400m SW of the summit of Dumyat. The site was surveyed in 1963 by the RCAHMS, and the description given at that time remains largely unchanged by the current survey.

The site occupies a craggy buttress with commanding views over the hillfoots area and the Forth plain to the S, and makes use of the naturally defensive location formed by cliffs and gullies to the N, E and S. The central area of the site consists of a dun-like enclosure (I), comprising a substantial rubble wall, up to 4m thick in places and sub-oval in plan. No facing stones were obvious and the position of the entrance is not apparent, though the RCAHMS are probably correct in estimating that this was located in the SW area. The interior of the enclosure is largely featureless, though a crescentic depression in the SE area could represent the remains of a building. Two walkers’ cairns have been constructed on the rampart, one in the SW and a second in the NE; the latter is not marked on the RCAHMS plan of 1963 and as such has probably been built since that date.

To the E of enclosure, two light earthworks (II and III) curve across the promontory. The innermost of these, II, is c1m wide and appears to respect the curve of enclosure I, suggesting they are contemporary, but earthwork III may predate both features. The relationship between enclosure I and earthwork III is not clear, but it is possible that I overlies

III, which may have originally enclosed a larger area on the summit of the ridge. Vitrified material was observed both within the rubble of enclosure I and in the rubble spreads to the NW of I.

The outer areas of the fort are defined by two outworks, IV and V. The chronology of these defences is uncertain, and the merging of rubble from both around the entrance area means that they cannot be separated sequentially from one another. The innermost wall, IV, is slightly thicker,

averaging between 3–4m wide. In one area in the SW outer face of the southern rampart, a few possible displaced facing stones were observed, though elsewhere the rampart is entirely ruinous. The outermost rampart, V, is of very similar composition; vitrified material was observed in several places in both ramparts. The outworks are conjoined at the entrance area and, although they are ruinous, it seems probable that they were linked, forming an entrance passage leading to the interior. Excavation would be required in order to demonstrate a sequence of construction.

Outside the ramparts, to the W, lighter walls have been constructed (VI and VII), visible and turf covered banks forming a series of enclosures. It is likely that these post date the fort although a ruinous bank, VIII, may have helped to define the route into the site via a natural gully leading up the hill.

Two small structures, perhaps shielings or shelters have been constructed from the ruins of the ramparts. The first, A, is little more than an arc of stones built against the bedrock outcrop to the W of the fort while B is a small circular cell dug into the rubble collapse of rampart IV.

Archive: RCAHMS

Funder: Ochils Landscape Partnership Scheme and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

Graeme Cavers – AOC Archaeology Group

(Source: DES)

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