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Craig Obney

Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Craig Obney

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 26986

Site Number NO03NW 1

NGR NO 0224 3822

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Auchtergaven
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NO03NW 1 0224 3822.

(NO 0224 3822) Fort (NR) (Site of)

OS 6" map (1901)

The remains of a circular fort at Craig Obney. It is partially vitrified, and the approach to it from the S is still traceable.

C McLean 1879

The summit of Craig Obney, a prominent steep-sided plateau approximately 1300ft above sea-level, is occupied by the remains of a large oval-shaped fort defined by traces of a stone wall or rampart running along the edge of the plateau except on the SW. A section of outer wall face is visible on the NE. The fort measures c.100.0m NE-SW by c.46m transversely with a possible entrance on the S side towards the NE end. Some vitrified stone was seen in the rampart at the NE end confirming that it was timber-laced. The surface of the interior is irregular and uneven, but two possible hut platforms were noted in the SW. Within the interior on the N side, is a possible well or cistern.

The higher ground within the fort, towards its SW end, is occupied by a later fort measuring c.26.0m NW-SE by c.16.0m NE-SW within the remains of a massive stone wall of indeterminate width. Material for this fort was almost certainly taken from the timber-laced work, although no vitrified material can be seen in the tumbled walls.

Surveyed at 1/10,000 scale.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 28 March 1969

As described in previous field report.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (BS) 7 October 1975


Field Visit (27 May 1957)

Fort, Craig Obney

The principal structure is the D-shaped stone walled citadel marked A on the accompanying sketch, which measures 100 ft by 90 ft from centre to centre of the enclosing wall. The wall has been built of thin slabs of stone native to the hill, but has been so thoroughly cast down (? by the Romans) that its thickness is indeterminate in the absence of excavation. The debris is 20 ft wide on the average, but is not more than 2 ft in height: this might imply either a tall narrow wall, or a low thick one. The straight side of the citadel follows the crest of the slight ridge that forms the summit proper of the hill, but the plan is otherwise unrelated to the contours, as is the case with most of these D-shaped citadels. There is a suggestion of an entrance, about 3 ft wide, at t he point shown in the sketch, but the interior is featureless.

The outworks indicated in the sketch are only traceable by occasional outer facing stones and scraps of core and it is doubtful if they are contemporary with the citadel or represent an earlier defensive system. They are closely related to the contours, each wall following a natural crest-line, and it is possible that B and C originally may have been one wall, with D an outer defence, or that B alone may have been the main enclosure, its S wall underlying that of A. In the latter case C and D would both be outworks. Interesting features are:

1) The wall and ditch which prolong the line of natural defence offered by the peat moss on the S; the ditch is 12 ft wide , 6 ft deep below the wall, and 3 ft deep below the exterior ground surface.

2) Three set stones which were probably laid to restrict access to the SW entrance. There is another entrance on t he N side of the citadel as indicated, but there are no internal features apart from an oval hollow measuring 30 ft by 20 ft in C which may or may not be a dwelling site.

The fact that walls B, C, D and E have almost entirely disappeared, though the external facings remain in places, suggest that they are contemporary with one another yet different in date from A which exhibits plenty of stone but no facings. B, C, D and E might, therefore, have been robbed for the purpose of building A. But the possibility still remains that they all represent a single integrated system. In spite of differences in plan the combination of walls and ditches, and the flattening of the main wall, argue for an affinity between this fort and the one at Dun Mor above Fendoch.

Visited by RCAHMS (KAS) 27 May 1957

Sketch in MLS transcripts.

Note (4 May 2015 - 18 May 2016)

The summit of Craig Obney is crowned by a small-stone-walled enclosure, but there are also traces of a single wall drawn round the margin of the uneven heather-clad plateau from which it rises. This latter enclosure is oval on plan and measures internally at least 90m in length from NE to SW by up to 40m transversely (0.32ha). Its wall has been heavily robbed, probably to build the inner enclosure on the summit, but a few pieces of vitrifaction have been observed on the NE, where there are also a few outer facing-stones visible, and there is a possible outer rampart blocking acess from the more easily accessible SW end. The interior is rough and uneven, but the OS identified two possible house platforms at the SW end, and suggested that a hollow on the N is a cistern or well. The circuit is so heavily robbed, however, that it is difficult to identify any original gaps in its line, but there are possible entrances on the E and the SW. In 1957, RCAHMS investigators suggested that a short length of ditch leading ENE out of a boggy sump below the S flank of the fort was also an outwork of the defences, but it might equally be a crude attempt at drainage of much more recent date. The inner enclosure on the summit, which almost certainly overlies the wall of the fort on the S, is oval on plan and measures about 26m from NW to SE by 16m transversely (0.05ha) within a wall spread 6m in thickness by up to 0.6m in height.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 18 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC3017


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