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Stirling, Gowan Hill

Enclosure (Period Unassigned), Rig And Furrow (Medieval)

Site Name Stirling, Gowan Hill

Classification Enclosure (Period Unassigned), Rig And Furrow (Medieval)

Canmore ID 132466

Site Number NS79SE 195

NGR NS 792 943

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Stirling
  • Parish Stirling
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Stirling
  • Former County Stirlingshire

Archaeology Notes

NS79SE 195 792 943

NS 792 943 Between Stirling Castle (NS79SE 6) and the small vitrified fort (Mote Hill) (NS79SE 3) on the northern corner of the Gowan Hill, there are numerous unrecorded features including an enclosure of approximately 4.5 hectares in extent. The earth and stone banks of this enclosure can be found along the edges of a wide sloping shelf, the most northern of the three main ridges which run down Stirling Castle Rock. Traces of medieval rig and furrow can be seen within the enclosure, and livestock were grazed on the hill in the past. However the clearance of thick gorse (which obscures most of the site) at three points on the steep NE-facing side of the shelf has revealed a further 3-5 banks below the perimeter of the enclosure, which suggests that it may represent a minor oppidum rather than an old field system.

The banks of the enclosure vary in thickness from c. 1-2.5m, and none survive to much more than a metre in height. Urban development covers the south-eastern limits of the enclosure, and only one possible 'hut scoop' has been seen within it. Slight banks have also been located outside the enclosure, mainly along the length of the Gowan Hill's precipitous north-western edge.

Sponsor: Stirlingshire Educational Trust.

S Digney 1995.

NS 792 943 In the broad triangular hollow at the N end of Gowan Hill are a series of cropmarks and earthworks. At the W end are three low sub-rectangular platforms, about 5-6 x 6m, at the N edge of a sub-triangular hollow about 20m long E-W. At the E end is a shallow hollow-way, 18m long by 6m wide, with a low mound about 6m wide at its E end.

On the S side of the hollow, just E of the public path, are seven possible rigs oriented almost N-S and up to 4m wide. On the E side of the path are 20 possible rigs, aligned almost E-W and up to 2m wide, down the E slope.

On the S face of the rocky outcrop, at NS 791 942, there is a stone and earth bank, c 1m wide by 1m high, that follows the NW-SE orientation of the glacially eroded edge of the outcrop for c 22m, after which a possibly artificial terrace continues for another 25m. This could have marked a southern grazing limit.

C A-Kelly 2004.


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