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Black Cairn

Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Black Cairn

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) The Ring

Canmore ID 30068

Site Number NO21NW 12

NGR NO 2334 1714

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Abdie
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District North East Fife
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NO21NW 12 2334 1714.

(NO 234 172). This fort, formerly known as 'The Ring', is situated on the summit of Black Cairn Hill. It is oval in outline, bounded by a single stone wall, and measures internally 405' (123.5m) by 320' (97.5m). For a distance of 160' (48.8m) on the N side, where it skirted the base of a rock outcrop, the wall has completely vanished, and elsewhere it is reduced to a mere rickle of stones, a few facing stones which are still in position at the NE end indicate, however, that it was c.10' (3m) wide. Two gaps in the wall, on the NW and SE sides may represent original entrances, but the interior shows no signs of structures.

RCAHMS 1933; Information in RCAHMS typescript, 22 June 1954.

A fort generally as described by RCAHM, except that the NW gap may be modern.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (R D) 20 May 1970.


Field Visit (22 June 1954)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Marginal Land Survey (1950-1962), an unpublished rescue project.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 typecripts, notebooks and drawings can also be viewed in the RCAHMS search room.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 19 July 2013.

Note (15 June 2015 - 18 May 2016)

Black Cairn Hill forms the highest part of Newburgh Common and is surmounted by a large oval fort measuring about 123m from NNE to SSW by 95m transversely (0.9ha) within a rampart reduced to little more than a band of stones. A sector on the N has been entirely removed, but a few facing-stones remain in place on the NE, indicating an original thickness of some 3m. There are entrances on the SE and WNW, though in the opinion of the OS surveyor in 1970 the latter may be relatively recent. A small quarry has also been dug across the line of the rampart on the SSW. Apart from a modern cairn marking the boundary between the parishes of Abdie and Newburgh, the interior is featureless.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 18 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC3124


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