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Dun Earn

Fort (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Site Name Dun Earn

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Canmore ID 15564

Site Number NH95SE 1

NGR NH 9978 5156

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Moray
  • Parish Edinkillie (Moray)
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Moray
  • Former County Morayshire

Archaeology Notes

NH95SE 1 9978 5156

(Area: NH 998 515) Dun Earn (NAT)

OS 6" map (1906)

Dun Earn is a conspicuous hill bounded on the north and west by the Dunearn Burn, in a deep ravine. On the west side near the top is still visible a vestige of a Fossa leading eastward across from the the river. The said track was pointed out to me by the forester. (This entry has been cancelled and another, indicating that there are no traces, has been substituted).

Name Book 1871.

Dun Earn is a wooded promontory with steep slopes to the Findhorn in the E and the Dunearn Burn in the N and W. Across the S end of the promontory at its narrowest point is a curving ditch c.4.0m wide and c.1.0m deep running E-W for c.90.0m and enclosing rising ground measuring c.180.0m N-S by c.150.0m transvesely. There are indi- cations that some of the spoil has been thrown outwards to form an outer bank, but this is now too overgrown to be certain. The ditch is cut in the W by a track and by a path towards its E end, and about midway is a gap c.5.0m wide which appears to be original, possibly an entrance. There is no trace of defensive works within the enclosed area which is confused by trees and recent tracks and paths.

This is splendid situation for a fort, but apart from the ditch which may or not be defensive, there is insufficient evidence to classify it as such.

Visited by OS (AA) 28 January 1971.


Note (25 March 2015 - 13 December 2016)

A ditch some 90m in length blocks access from the SW to a large promontory formed between the escarpment on the W bank of the River Findhorn and the ravine cut by the Dunearn Burn on the W and N on its way to their confluence on the NE. The position of the ditch was excluded from early editions of the OS map, but is shown on a modern edition on the S. The upper part of the promontory, which rises into a rounded summit, is flanked on the W by the ravine, but elsewhere the ground falls away quite steeply, on the N some 15m down to the ravine-edge, and on the E as much as 30m to the escarpment above the river. The ditch itself measures some 4m to 5m in breadth by little more than 0.6m in depth and is flanked on both sides by traces of low banks. The entrance causeway noted by Alan Ayre of the OS was not observed on a more recent visit, which found that the ground beneath the trees is now more accessible, though visibility is still restricted. Nevertheless, in the central sector the forestry ploughing has exposed a band of stones and larger water-worn boulders set back between 4m and 5m from the N side of the ditch, and this can be traced as a low stony scarp up to 0.7m high extending westwards to the edge of the modern track on the edge of the ravine on this side. On the opposite side of the promontory, about 15m behind the ditch, a second stony scarp turns W off the lip of the promontory and can be traced most of the way across the neck. Without excavation it is impossible to be certain of the true character of these scarps, but it is possible that they are the last remnants of a belt of defences cutting off the promontory. The extent of the enclosure is uncertain, but the overall area that may have been enclosed is well in excess of 3ha. If it is indeed the remains of a fort, however, the interior may have occupied a rather smaller area measuring about 100m from E to W by 65m transversely on the summit, the N side of which is bounded by a pronounced lip; a few boulders have been exposed where a woodland pathway cuts through the lip at the NE corner.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 13 December 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2918


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