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Cropmark(S) (Period Unknown), Enclosure (Period Unassigned), Ring Ditch(S) (Period Unassigned), Roundhouse(S) (Prehistoric)(Possible), Settlement (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Balblair

Classification Cropmark(S) (Period Unknown), Enclosure (Period Unassigned), Ring Ditch(S) (Period Unassigned), Roundhouse(S) (Prehistoric)(Possible), Settlement (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 15134

Site Number NH85NE 46

NGR NH 877 551

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Nairn
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Nairn
  • Former County Nairn

Archaeology Notes

NH85NE 46 877 551.

'Air photography has revealed a range of cropmarks in addition to the already known fort at Balblair with its ditch, two concentric internal palisades and internal features. There are at least two probable penannular ring ditches lying W and NW of the fort. To the south are a variety of linear features, some of which may be ice wedges, others may be field boundaries.' (See archive for details.)

Information from J Harden 1989.

Aerial photography has revealed a series of cropmarks scattered across a field 350m ESE of Balblair House (NH85NE 8). A large oval enclosure, measuring about 55m by 40m internally, has a parallel pair of palisades 4m apart, and 6m in from the external ditch. At least one circular mark within this enclosure, probably a house, suggests that this is a settlement. It has an entrance on the S side.

A number of indeterminate circular and sub-circular marking, some of which may be ring-ditches, have also been recorded immediately to the S and W of this settlement, five of which appear on the same alignment. An irregular curving linear cropmark runs for some 50m NE from the roadside in the NW corner of the field, and one of the features identified as a penannular ring-ditch (above) lies to the 40m to the NW of the settlement.

Further cropmarks are visible in the SE corner of the field, 150m SSE of the settlement. Two circular marks, both with diameters of approximately 10m, may be further round-houses, and arcs of ditch between and to the W are probably parts of ring-ditches. Various other indeterminate markings have been recorded immediately to the N.

Swirling cropmarks in the SW corner of in the same field are geological in origin, and irregular narrow linear features in the NE corner represent frost or ice wedges.

Information from RCAHMS (KB) 7 July 1999


Note (23 March 2015 - 31 May 2016)

The site of this fortification has been revealed by cropmarks occupying a low rise midway between Balblair and Fir Hall. Its defences comprise a ditch about 3m in breadth, accompanied by two concentric palisade trenches set 4m apart some 6m within its inner lip. The ditch describes a horseshoe on plan, with a broad gap on the SSW, and encloses an area measuring about 55m from NNE to SSW by 40m transversely (0.14ha), but the area enclosed by the two palisade trenches is considerably smaller, measuring little more than 35m by 20m (0.05ha). The palisade trenches are broken by a gap at the SSW end and there are traces of at least one round-house in the interior, though whether it is contemporary with the defences is not known; nor indeed whether the palisades are contemporary with the ditch.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 31 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2908


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