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Dun Mor, Cabrich

Fort (Prehistoric)

Site Name Dun Mor, Cabrich

Classification Fort (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 12734

Site Number NH54SW 10

NGR NH 53440 42903

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Kiltarlity And Convinth
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Inverness
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NH54SW 10 5340 4290.

(NH 5343 4290) Dun Mor (NAT) Fort (NR)

OS 25"map, (1969)

Dun Mor, the remains of a fort occupying a rocky table on the NE flank of Phoineas Hill. Details are difficult to determine but it appears to have comprised a "citadel" on the higher SW end of the crag with a "bailey" occupying the rest of the table to the NE.

The "citadel" is enclosed by a ruinous stone wall in which are several vitrified masses. Occasional outer but no inner facing stones can be seen. The entrance is in the E.

The "bailey", extending 440' to the NE, with an average width of 130', is bounded by traces of a wall or rampart which meets the wall of the citadel in the SE. This is shown as a vitrified wall on Wallace's plan (T Wallace 1921). The entrance was probably in the NE where a gentle gradient leads obliquely up to the SE flank of the crag. Crossing the bailey from NW-SE some 100' from the citadel, and defending it, are an ill-preserved pair of stony mounds spread to c. 10' wide, their centres 15' apart, and the space between slightly excavated. It is uncertain whether they are ramparts with a medial ditch, or a ditch with spoil heaps on either side. They are pierced by an entrance gap. The remains suggest that the "bailey" formed part of an original fort, and that the "citadel" with outer defences was secondary.

R W Feachem 1963; T Wallace 1921; Information from R W Feachem (Mss notes and plan) to OS.

The dunuded remains of a vitrified fort, enclosing an area measuring approximately 54.0m NE-SW by 27.0m, on the summit of a hill known a Dun Mor, and described by Feachem as the "citadel". The enclosing wall can be traced with difficulty as a slight turf-covered rise around the lip of the summit with only two pieces of vitrifaction on the SW and SE sides visible. It was probably entered from the E at the easiest approach, but there is an easy ascent to the NW side of the fort from the W, which could have been an entrance. In both of these sectors at a lower level are traces of outworks which appear to connect with natural outcrop and cliffs to form a complete encircling outer defence. In the E, this defence is evident as the two ramparts described by Feachem. In the W, it is a wall of which only the discontinuous outer face can be seen (shown on Wallace's sketch plan). Within the fort, below a low cliff, is a damp depression choked with vegetation; it may have been a cistern.

There is now no trace of fortification around the "bailey". At its lowest point is a waterlogged depression, shown as a waterhole or well on Feachem's and Wallace's plans.

There is nothing to suggest that the "citadel" and bailey were not comtemporary. (Visited by OS (R D) 21 January 1965)

Resurveyed at 1:2500.(Visited by OS (R D) 21 January 1965)

Visited by OS (N K B) 11 December 1970


Field Visit (16 August 1943)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Emergency Survey (1942-3), an unpublished rescue project. Site descriptions, organised by county, vary from short notes to lengthy and full descriptions and are available to view online with contemporary sketches and photographs. The original typescripts, manuscripts, notebooks and photographs can also be consulted in the RCAHMS Search Room.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 10 December 2014.

Field Visit (9 April 1957)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Marginal Land Survey (1950-1962), an unpublished rescue project. Site descriptions, organised by county, are available to view online - see the searchable PDF in 'Digital Items'. These vary from short notes, to lengthy and full descriptions. Contemporary plane-table surveys and inked drawings, where available, can be viewed online in most cases - see 'Digital Images'. The original typecripts, notebooks and drawings can also be viewed in the RCAHMS search room.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 19 July 2013.

Field Visit (January 1978)

Dun Mor, Ballindoun NH 534 429 NH54SW 10

This fort occupies the higher (SW) end of a rocky ridge 600m ESE of Ballindoun farmhouse. A vitrified wall encloses an area measuring 54m by 27m; additional defence has been provided on the NE by a double bank and medial ditch which cross the ridge from NW to SE. Nothing can now be seen of what may have been an outer wall at the NE end of the ridge.

RCAHMS 1979, visited January 1978

(Transactions of the Inverness Scientific Society and Field Club, viii, 1912-18, 95-7; NMRS IND/92; Feachem 1977, 126)

Note (6 March 2015 - 14 November 2016)

This fort comprises two main elements: an upper enclosure occupying the summit of the NE spur of Phoineas Hill; and a lower enclosure extending down its sloping spine to the NE. The position is a strong one, girt with crags around the S flank of the summit and down the NE flank, and elsewhere with steep rocky slopes. The upper enclosure follows the irregular contour of the summit, describing an irregular oval with a deep re-entrant in its NW side and measures internally about 56m from NE to SW by 27m transversely (0.11ha). Its wall is heavily denuded, but short runs of the outer face are visible around the circuit and several vitrified masses have been observed in its core. The entrance is on the E, but the line of approach up the spur from the NE is also blocked by an outer defence comprising two low banks with a shallow medial ditch. As planned by RCAHMS investigators in 1957, on the SE this outwork interrupts the perimeter of the lower enclosure, which they traced along the edge of the crag over a distance of 140m, returning along the crest of slope on the opposing flank to take in a rough and uneven area measuring about 140m in length by 40m in breadth (0.5ha). Described at the time as little more than occasional stones and blocks, subsequent investigators from both the RCAHMS and the OS have struggled to find any trace of this enclosure in the dense bracken and scrub beneath an open birch canopy, and it is also omitted from the Scheduled area, but it was also identified in the early 20th century by T Wallace (1918, 95-7) and its existence should perhaps be given the benefit of the doubt. Whether the remains of a large annexe to the relatively small summit enclosure, or perhaps an earlier fort that once enclosed the whole summit and spur, an area measuring 180m from NE to SW by up to 40m transversely (0.6ha), can only be demonstrated by further fieldwork; in 1957 the RCAHMS investigators preferred the latter interpretation.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 14 November 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2886


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