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Tap O' Noth

Enclosure (Period Unassigned), Fort (Period Unassigned), Ring Ditch House(S) (Prehistoric), Roundhouse(S) (Prehistoric), Vitrified Stone (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Tap O' Noth

Classification Enclosure (Period Unassigned), Fort (Period Unassigned), Ring Ditch House(S) (Prehistoric), Roundhouse(S) (Prehistoric), Vitrified Stone (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Hill Of Noth

Canmore ID 17169

Site Number NJ42NE 1

NGR NJ 4845 2930

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/17169

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Digital Images


First 100 images shown. See the Collections panel (below) for a link to all digital images.

Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Rhynie
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Gordon
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Treasured Places (13 August 2007)

The Iron Age hillfort on Tap O' Noth is one of the largest in Scotland, consisting of 21 ha enclosed by a stone rampart. More than 100 house platforms have been recorded between the rampart and a massive wall that further protects the hill's summit. This stone and timber wall, more than 6m in width and 3m high, is vitrified in places - the stones have fused together through intense, prolonged heat. The extremely high temperatures generated by the burning timbers causes the surrounding stone to melt, and this phenomenon has been observed at many forts. On the summit there is a rock cut well or cistern.

Information from RCAHMS (SC) 13 August 2007

RCAHMS 2007

Armit, I 1998

Ritchie, A and Ritchie G, 1998

Recording Your Heritage Online

Tap o' Noth. Remains of 'an ancient fortress, formerly thought to have been the mouth of a volcano, but now known to

be one of three forts constructed of stones vitrified by the force of fire, of which kind many have been lately discovered in Scotland'.

Francis Douglas, 'A general description of the East coast of Scotland', Paisley, 1782

Taken from "Aberdeenshire: Donside and Strathbogie - An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Ian Shepherd, 2006. Published by the Rutland Press http://www.rias.org.uk

Archaeology Notes

NJ42NE 1 4845 2931.

NJ 4845 2930 Tap o' Noth (NAT) Vitrified Fort (NR) (Remains of); Outer Line of Entrenchment (NR) (Remains of)

(NJ 4845 2927) Well (NR)

OS 6" map, Aberdeenshire, 2nd ed., (1902)

The Tap o' Noth is a conical eminence which rises from the W end of the Hill of Noth to attain a height of 1851 ft (564m) OD, and 1300 ft (396m) above the Water of Bogie at Rhynie; it is visible from the sea, 30 miles to the E.

The fort that crowns this site is the second highest in Scotland and consists of a single wall (now overgrown and heavily vitrified) which may have originally been more than 20ft (6.1m) thick and encloses an area about 335ft (102m) by 105ft (32m). A depression about 90ft (27m) from the S end represents the site of a well or cistern.

A second wall, mainly a row of huge boulders, lies low down the N and E flanks of the hill. Outside to the S of the fort platforms similar to those on which timber-framed houses were built have been noticed.

J MacDonald 1891; J E Kilbride-Jones 1935; M A Cotton 1954; R W Feachem 1963; R W Feachem 1966.

Tap o' Noth: generally as described above. Traces of outworks are discernible outside the entrance to the SE, but are too vague to survey. The interior is featureless, except for the well/cistern which is now choked with stones.

The numerous crescent-shaped 'platforms' on the NE and S side of the fort may be quarries (not surveyed).

Surveyed at 1/10,000.

Visited by OS (NKB) 8 February 1967.

This fort is situated in heather and rough grazing on the summit of a conical hill at an altitude of 563m OD. Field visits have revealed the following:

1. children's scoops in the (main) wall,

2. a second wall (mainly comprising a row of huge boulders) low down on the N and E flanks of the hill,

3. outside the fort (to the S) there are what are possibly either quarries or platforms for timber-framed houses,

4. platforms to NE of fort may be quarries but some are similar to hut-platforms, measuring c. 10m in diameter; there is a further platform immediately S of the entrance,

5. traces of outworks are discernible as breaks of slope outside the entrance to the SE, but are too vague to survey

6. the well or cistern is now choked with stones but contains some water; the interior is otherwise featureless.

Macdonald (1886) cut two sections through the wall of the upper fort while samples of vitrified rock were taken from the main enclosure by Prof. R Kazmann for analysis at Louisiana State University.

(GRC/AAS plans and ground and air photographs listed).

Information from Aberdeenshire Archaeological Service, June 1997 (visited May 1978, April 1981 and May 1985).

NMRS, MS/712/19 and MS/712/36.

NJ 484 293. A visit to Tap o' Noth vitrified fort revealed the presence of a hitherto unidentified enclosure within the massive stone walls of the fort, formed by two concentric banks with medial ditch, traceable around the W, S and E sides of the interior of the fort. Within the northern interior of the fort the banks of this enclosure could not be distinguished. The inner rampart measures c 2m wide by 0.5m high; the outer 2.5-3m wide by 0.4m high, and the medial ditch c 2m in width. To the E the enclosure appears to run beneath the vitrified stone wall and also shows evidence of realignment. To the W the double banks show signs of disturbance. To the S, the banks exist in a denuded state where they correspond to the entrance through the vitrified fort.

Two possible hut circles were located within the northern interior of the vitrified fort. One, c 30m from the inner stone wall, is defined as a low mound c 8m in diameter. Its walls measure 1-1.5m wide, contain occasional stone, with a possible entrance present to the SE. Approximately 10m NW of this hut circle, the W half of a possible second hut circle measuring 5m in diameter and extant to c 0.3m could be defined.

A Dunwell and R Strachan 1997.

(Classified as hillfort, enclosures and hut-platforms). Air photographs: AAS/00/02/G4/5-8 and AAS/00/02/CT.

NMRS, MS/712/100.

Without question this is one of the most spectacular forts in Scotland. The summit of the hill lies at a height of 563m OD, rising up from the south-west end of a whale-backed ridge above Rhynie, and the view from the top commands a huge sweep of north-east of Scotland. On a clear day the North Sea can be seen to the east, while the southern shore of the Moray Firth lies to the north, its far coast extending into the distance to Sutherland and Caithness.

The fort itself comprises two main components, one represented by the massive vitrified wall around the summit, and the other by a stone rampart set much farther down the slope. The vitrified wall, which encloses an area measuring about 85m from north-west to south-east by 30m transversely, now forms a mound of rubble at least 15m thick, although it has evidently been quarried for stone internally at a more recent date. Despite the quarrying, the rubble is piled up between 2m and 3m above the level of the interior, but its external scarp forms an even more impressive feature, with a talus of debris spread up to 30m down the slope. At various points around the circuit substantial masses of vitrifaction can also be seen, in part exposed by the quarrying, but demonstrating that the wall was constructed with an internal timber framework and destroyed in a massive conflagration. No entrance is visible and the present access, which can be seen in a 19th-century illustration of the fort (Hibbert 1857), rides over the debris at the south-east end. Two low banks with a medial ditch cut across the south-east end of the interior, presumably indicating the presence of an earlier enclosure on the summit. The only other features visible within the interior are a possible well or cistern, and what may be traces of a large round-house.

The outer fort is defended by a single rampart, though this has been largely wrecked by stone-robbing, and in some places, particularly on the steepest slopes above Rhynie, its line is barely perceptible. Ten gaps in the rampart can be identified, mainly around the northern half of the circuit, though not all are original entrances. Nevertheless, several short lengths of trackway within the interior are probably ancient, servicing the clusters of small circular house-platforms that pockmark its surface.

Visited by RCAHMS (SPH), 6 September 1999.

Activities

Field Visit (27 July 1943)

This site was recorded as part of the RCAHMS Emergency Survey, undertaken by Angus Graham and Vere Gordon Childe during World War 2. The project archive has been catalogued during 2013-2014 and the material, which includes notebooks, manuscripts, typescripts, plans and photographs, is now available online.

Information from RCAHMS (GF Geddes) 2 December 2014.

Field Visit (26 July 1954)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Marginal Land Survey (1950-1958), 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 typescripts, notebooks and drawings can also be viewed in the RCAHMS search room.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 19 July 2013.

Field Visit (8 February 1967)

Tap o' Noth: generally as described above. Traces of outworks are discernible outside the entrance to the SE, but are too vague to survey. The interior is featureless, except for the well/cistern which is now choked with stones.

The numerous crescent-shaped 'platforms' on the NE and S side of the fort may be quarries (not surveyed).

Surveyed at 1/10,000.

Visited by OS (NKB) 8 February 1967.

Field Visit (13 July 1969)

Aerial Photography (1977)

Aerial Photography (22 August 1978)

Field Visit (May 1978 - May 1985)

This fort is situated in heather and rough grazing on the summit of a conical hill at an altitude of 563m OD. Field visits have revealed the following:

1. children's scoops in the (main) wall,

2. a second wall (mainly comprising a row of huge boulders) low down on the N and E flanks of the hill,

3. outside the fort (to the S) there are what are possibly either quarries or platforms for timber-framed houses,

4. platforms to NE of fort may be quarries but some are similar to hut-platforms, measuring c. 10m in diameter; there is a further platform immediately S of the entrance,

5. traces of outworks are discernible as breaks of slope outside the entrance to the SE, but are too vague to survey

6. the well or cistern is now choked with stones but contains some water; the interior is otherwise featureless.

Macdonald (1886) cut two sections through the wall of the upper fort while samples of vitrified rock were taken from the main enclosure by Prof. R Kazmann for analysis at Louisiana State University.

(GRC/AAS plans and ground and air photographs listed).

Information from Aberdeenshire Archaeological Service, June 1997 (visited May 1978, April 1981 and May 1985).

NMRS, MS/712/19 and MS/712/36.

Aerial Photography (1978)

Aerial Photography (22 January 1981)

Aerial Photography (6 June 1983)

Publication Account (1986)

Two defensive episodes have been identifled on this most spectacular hillfort which is, at 563m OD, the second highest in Scotland (after Ben Griam Beg in Sutherland, at 620m). The larger, and possibly earlier, enclosure covers a massive 21 ha and consists of an outwork, a stony wall with a core of boulders, running round the break of slope on all but the steepest southeastern side. At least 145 platforms have been found within this enclosure, as well as substantial tracks. The platforms are most numerous on the north-east and north-west sides. Although some of the larger ones are on the more southerly slopes, the concentration on the north side may be the result of the prevailing wind. It is presumed that many of the platforms Cat least near the upper fort) must be quarries; nevertheless, the existence of any hut sites at this altitude and their relative remoteness from good agricultural land suggest a date no later than the early first millennium BC, before the climate deteriorated. The site is, however, formally undated, although three glass beads and other late iron-age fmds came from very close to this lower enclosure.

The upper fort consists of a truly massive wall, vitrified extremely heavily in places, enclosing a rectangular area 105m by 40m. When the wall was excavated in 1891, it was found to be from G m to 8m wide at the base and to rise to 3.5m in height. The cistern, at the south end of the fort, was found to be 2.2m deep. The severe vitrification could only have been produced by substantial quantities of timber and brushwood; once alight the fort must have been visible as a glowing beacon for days. It is not known when, or by whom, this great work, at once of defence and of display, was destroyed.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Grampian’, (1986).

Aerial Photography (27 February 1996)

Publication Account (1996)

Two defensive episodes have been identified on this most spectacular hillfort which is, at 563m OD, the second highest in Scotland (after Ben Griam Beg in Sutherland, at 620m). The larger, and possibly earlier, enclosure covers a massive 21 ha and consists of an outwork, a stony all with a core of boulders, running round the break of slope on all but the steepest south-eastern side. At least 145 platforms have been found within this enclosure, as well as substantial tracks. The platforms are most numerous on the north-east and north-west sides. Although some of the larger ones are on the more southerly slopes, the concentration on the north side may be the result of the prevailing wind. It is presumed that many of the platforms (at least near the upper fort) must be quarries; nevertheless, the existence of any hut sites at this altitude and their relative remoteness from good agricultural land suggest a date no later than the early first millennium BC, before the climate deteriorated. The site is, however, formally undated, although three glass beads and other late iron-age finds came from very close to this lower enclosure.

The upper fort consists of a truly massive wall, vitrified extremely heavily in places, enclosing a rectangular area 105m by 40m. When the wall was excavated in 1891, it was found to be from 6m to 8m wide at the base and to rise to 3.5m in height. The cistern, at the south end of the fort, was found to be 2.2m deep. The severe vitrification could only have been produced by substantial quantities of timber and brushwood; once alight the fort must have been visible as a glowing beacon for days. It is not known when, or by whom, this great work, at once of defence and of display, was destroyed.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Aberdeen and North-East Scotland’, (1996).

Field Visit (1997)

NJ 484 293. A visit to Tap o' Noth vitrified fort revealed the presence of a hitherto unidentified enclosure within the massive stone walls of the fort, formed by two concentric banks with medial ditch, traceable around the W, S and E sides of the interior of the fort. Within the northern interior of the fort the banks of this enclosure could not be distinguished. The inner rampart measures c 2m wide by 0.5m high; the outer 2.5-3m wide by 0.4m high, and the medial ditch c 2m in width. To the E the enclosure appears to run beneath the vitrified stone wall and also shows evidence of realignment. To the W the double banks show signs of disturbance. To the S, the banks exist in a denuded state where they correspond to the entrance through the vitrified fort.

Two possible hut circles were located within the northern interior of the vitrified fort. One, c 30m from the inner stone wall, is defined as a low mound c 8m in diameter. Its walls measure 1-1.5m wide, contain occasional stone, with a possible entrance present to the SE. Approximately 10m NW of this hut circle, the W half of a possible second hut circle measuring 5m in diameter and extant to c 0.3m could be defined.

A Dunwell and R Strachan 1997.

Field Visit (June 1998)

Aerial Photography (9 March 1998)

Aerial Photography (26 October 1998)

Measured Survey (3 August 1999 - 6 September 1999)

Field Visit (6 September 1999)

Without question this is one of the most spectacular forts in Scotland. The summit of the hill lies at a height of 563m OD, rising up from the south-west end of a whale-backed ridge above Rhynie, and the view from the top commands a huge sweep of north-east of Scotland. On a clear day the North Sea can be seen to the east, while the southern shore of the Moray Firth lies to the north, its far coast extending into the distance to Sutherland and Caithness.

The fort itself comprises two main components, one represented by the massive vitrified wall around the summit, and the other by a stone rampart set much farther down the slope. The vitrified wall, which encloses an area measuring about 85m from north-west to south-east by 30m transversely, now forms a mound of rubble at least 15m thick, although it has evidently been quarried for stone internally at a more recent date. Despite the quarrying, the rubble is piled up between 2m and 3m above the level of the interior, but its external scarp forms an even more impressive feature, with a talus of debris spread up to 30m down the slope. At various points around the circuit substantial masses of vitrifaction can also be seen, in part exposed by the quarrying, but demonstrating that the wall was constructed with an internal timber framework and destroyed in a massive conflagration. No entrance is visible and the present access, which can be seen in a 19th-century illustration of the fort (Hibbert 1857), rides over the debris at the south-east end. Two low banks with a medial ditch cut across the south-east end of the interior, presumably indicating the presence of an earlier enclosure on the summit. The only other features visible within the interior are a possible well or cistern, and what may be traces of a large round-house.

The outer fort is defended by a single rampart, though this has been largely wrecked by stone-robbing, and in some places, particularly on the steepest slopes above Rhynie, its line is barely perceptible. Ten gaps in the rampart can be identified, mainly around the northern half of the circuit, though not all are original entrances. Nevertheless, several short lengths of trackway within the interior are probably ancient, servicing the clusters of small circular house-platforms that pockmark its surface.

Visited by RCAHMS (SPH, JRS, IP) 6 September 1999.

Aerial Photography (24 January 2000)

Photographic Record (28 June 2000)

Aerial Photography (8 May 2000)

Aerial Photography (3 June 2003)

Aerial Photography (3 March 2003)

Note (6 April 2015 - 18 October 2016)

The fortifications enclosing the summit of Tap o'Noth comprise two elements: a heavily vitrified and massively constructed inner enclosure upon the summit of the whale-backed hill; and a large outer enclosure bounded by a rampart contouring much further down the slope. The enclosure on the summit measures at least 85m from NW to SE by 30m transversely (0.26ha) within a wall now reduced to a bank of rubble up to 15m in thickness by 3m in internal height. Quarrying around the inner edge of the bank has exposed large masses of vitrifaction, which can also be seen in the massive scree of debris that has tumbled down the slope outside. No evidence of an entrance is visible; the present access over the wall from the E via a stony external ramp was already present in the 19th century and is more likely to have been erected by quarrymen. Drawn in an arc across the SE end of the interior, however, there are traces of two banks with a medial ditch, while roughly at the centre are possible traces of a ring-ditch house; the relationship between these features and the wall are not known, partly because the ends of the banks and ditch have been truncated by the quarrying activity. The only other feature within the interior is a well.

The large outer enclosure measures about 550m from NW to SE by 400m transversely (16.4ha), within a heavily-robbed stone rampart that has been almost obliterated in some places, particularly along the steep S flank of the hill. Traces of an internal quarry scoop can be seen to the rear of this wall on the NW quarter and on the E. There are ten gaps in the line of the wall, disposed on the E, N and W, but at least five of them are probably relatively recent, with traces of trackways mounting the slope towards the summit; of the rest, those on the E and NNW are almost certainly original, and possibly a third on the W. Several of the trackways visible within the interior seem to service the clusters of small house-platforms that pockmark the slopes below the upper enclosure.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 18 October 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2938

Excavation (15 August 2017 - 3 September 2017)

NJ 4845 2930 (NJ42NE 1) From 15 August – 3 September 2017, a 5 x 15m trench was excavated within the interior of the Tap o’ Noth fort summit enclosure. This was part of a larger programme of work looking at fortified sites in the region of the recent Craw Stane excavations to develop a wider landscape context for the Pictish power centre at Rhynie.

The trench was located to investigate the interior deposits, a section of U-shaped bank enclosing part of the interior and to better understand the depth of stone tumble and locate the inner face of the vitrified stone wall. The aim was to understand the nature and use of the interior of the fort and

to obtain dating evidence for the major elements of the site. The excavation revealed that the U-shaped enclosure bank was composed of large stones and earth and likely later than the main vitrified wall as it overlay layers of collapsed stone. The inner face of the vitrified wall was located after the removal of substantial layers of stone tumble. The inner face was badly preserved and fully collapsed in several places but

survived to a height of c2m above the bedrock in one area. The facing stones were cracked, crumbled and in places the wall was visibly buckled due to the heat damage caused by the vitrification event. At the base of the inner face a series of deposits of burnt timber and cattle bone were identified.

These were located under wall collapse and could represent material predating the main vitrification event. Artefacts recovered included several flakes of flint, modern bottle glass and a modern coin. Ecofacts included cattle teeth and bone. A programme of further excavation and post-excavation analysis, including radiocarbon dating will help define the chronology and possible phasing at the site.

Archive: University of Aberdeen

Funder: University of Aberdeen and Historic Environment Scotland

Gordon Noble, Cathy MacIver and James O’Driscoll – University of Aberdeen

(Source: DES, Volume 18)

Note (March 2017)

An Aberdeenshire Icon

From the summit, it is possible to see all the way to the Moray Firth to the north and to the North Sea in the east. Clearly a strategically significant location in prehistory, this iconic hillfort remains substantially unexcavated. A trench - dug across the wall of the summit fort in 1891 - established its width, but there have been no recent excavations, other than some small scale excavations carried out in 1983. A survey in 1997 found traces of a previously unrecorded enclosure and the site was laser scanned in 2015.

Tap o' Noth has not been scientifically dated. Three glass beads, fragments of Roman pottery and a bronze terret have been found near to the lower enclosure. However, the most convincing dates are provided by comparison with Dunnideer hillfort, another Strathdon oblong fortification, which was recently dated to 400–200 BC. However, this does not mean the site was not reused later, or that the location was not the site of an earlier feature. It is quite possible that this prominent location was used over a long period of time. The hillfort rises over fertile agricultural land, and the landscape around the fort is rich with later prehistoric and early medieval remains. In addition to Tap, there are several smaller fortified sites, such as Wheelemont. A number of Pictish symbol stones have been found in the area. The Craw Stane, which has a commanding view of Tap o' Noth from its position beside the Pictish high status settlement at Rhynie, is one of the most well known. The relationship between Rhynie and Tap o Noth is as yet undefined, but is being investigated as part of 'The Rhynie Environs Archaeological Project'.

A Place of Strength?

Tap o' Noth consists of two main components; the massive rectangular fort at the summit is visible as a mound of rubble at about 15m thick. The interior has been quarried, but the rubble still stands to 3 metres in places. The rubble tails off for 30 metres on one side, and there is a large amount of vitrifaction, indicating that the walls have been subjected to high temperatures. The ramparts were originally formed from stone interlaced with a timber frame. When the timber was set alight, it created an intense heat which caused the stone to fuse. There are a large number of vitrified forts in Scotland, and although we don't know is why they were fired, various suggestions have been put forward. Was this a construction technique. The fusing of the stones did not uniformly and in all cases make the walls stronger. Did it take place during a conflict, perhaps the deliberate smiting of a prominent symbol? Whatever the reason for burning the fort, it must have been an awe-inspiring sight.

There is no entrance currently visible into the vitrified fort, and this is something which it has in common with other rectangular forts, such as Craig Phadraig in Inverness. The present access over the tumbled walls dates to the 19th century. The thickness of the walls and isolated summit position suggest that this was an exclusive and strong place which may not have been open to everyone. This doesn't necessarily mean that it was defensive, and a ceremonial function is also possible. Two banks and a ditch run across the south east end of the interior, and may be part of an earlier enclosure. There is cistern at the south end which is over 2 metres deep, and traces of two hut circles on the northern side.

A single large rampart encircles the outer fort, although stone has been robbed from this too, and it is barely visible in some places. Ten gaps have been identified in the circuit, although not all of them are original entrances. This outer enclosure contains substantial trackways and 234 platforms, some of which may be quarries and others houses.

Tap o' Noth is a stunning monument and perhaps the best preserved example of an Iron Age hillfort in Scotland, but how long was it occupied for? How did it connect with the landscape around it? Despite its iconic status, much remains a mystery.

Kirsty Owen - Senior Archaeology Manager

Excavation (11 August 2018 - 27 August 2018)

Gordon Noble, Cathy MacIver, James O’Driscoll and

Edouard Masson-Maclean – University of Aberdeen

NJ 4845 2930 From 11–27 August 2018, three trenches

were excavated on the interior of the Tap o’ Noth fort

summit enclosure. This was part of a larger programme of

work looking at fortified sites in the region of the recent

Craw Stane excavations to put the site in wider context.

An initial trench (Trench 1) was excavated and reported

on in 2017 (DES 2018, 26).

The trenches were located to investigate the possible well

(Trench 2); to determine the presence of interior deposits

(Trench 3); and to investigate a section of U-shaped banks

enclosing part of the interior and to better understand the

depth of stone tumble and locate the inner face of the

vitrified stone wall on the SW side (Trench 4). The aim was

to understand the nature, chronology and use of the interior

of the fort, in particular investigating if there had been later

reuse of the interior after the vitrification event.

Trench 2 – Excavation of the well identified the cut of

antiquarian excavations carried out by James MacDonald

in the 1880s. He was reputed to have ‘emptied’ the

well but, after the 2018 excavations, it was clear that

his intervention did not fully excavate the original well

cut. In places around the edges, areas of undisturbed

material within the well revealed a series of clay lining

deposits. Towards the base, bedrock was encountered

and the very basal deposits were waterlogged and

filled with well preserved organic material, apparently

undisturbed by MacDonald. Around the top of the well a

spread of charcoal-rich material also survived in situ and

represented the abandonment of use of the well, where

it had been filled with a large quantity of burnt material,

later cut through by MacDonald’s interventions.

Trench 3 – Excavation of a 10 x 10m trench in the

northern end of the interior of the summit enclosure

identified a series of deposits c0.45m deep overlying

natural subsoil and bedrock. Just above the natural in the

centre of the trench was a 3 x 4m by 0.05m thick spread

of bright orange material indicating in situ burning.

Overlying this was a series of spreads of stone related to

collapsed wall and later disturbed topsoil deposits with

frequent modern glass and a modern cable trench running

towards the Forestry Observation post.

Trench 4 – The excavation up against the inner edge of

the collapsed vitrified wall revealed that the two U-shaped

enclosure banks were composed of large stones and earth

and later than the main vitrified wall. The inner face of the

vitrified wall was located after the removal of substantial

layers of stone tumble and collapsed wall core. The inner

face was badly preserved and slumping forward in places

with the wall core having been excavated from above and

behind it in antiquity. The face was almost fully collapsed

in several places but survived to a height of c0.4m above

the bedrock in one area. This section showed several subrectangular

beam slots measuring 0.15 x 0.1m, indicating

the timber lacing of the main rampart wall. Up against the

inner face of the main rampart a series of deposits were

observed, including a layer of clay which could have been

part of a floor layer or series of floor layers for a structure

built up against the inner face. A posthole associated

with the floor layers was also identified, perhaps related

to a later structure up against the inner face or perhaps

reveting the inner face.

Artefacts recovered included several flint flakes and

modern bottle glass. Ecofacts included some animal bone

and organic material. A programme of further excavation

and post-excavation analysis, including radiocarbon

dating will help define the chronology and possible

phasing at the site.

Archive: University of Aberdeen

Funder: University of Aberdeen

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