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Dunwan Hill

Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Dunwan Hill

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Dunwan

Canmore ID 43771

Site Number NS54NW 1

NGR NS 54684 48955

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council East Renfrewshire
  • Parish Eaglesham
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Eastwood
  • Former County Renfrewshire

Archaeology Notes

NS54NW 1 54684 48955

(NS 5468 4894) Fort (NR)

OS 6" map (1961).

Location formerly entered as NS 5468 4894.

Dunwan Hill, an isolated hill, has traces of a rampart or wall round the edge of its flat summit (about 975ft OD) and vague traces of two other walls, halfway down and at the base of the slopes respectively. These are most apparent on the north and east sides. The lower wall appears to be associated with a small steading on the north side of the hill, and may therefore be unrelated to the defences.

Visible on RAF APs (541/A/527: 4015-16).

Visited by OS (JLD), 21 July 1955

This fort is triangular on plan, measuring 260ft by 160ft within a single wall or rampart originally at least 12ft thick. The interior contains surface traces to two circular timber framed houses. Traces of an outer line of defence can be followed round the lowest slopes of the hill.

R W Feachem 1963.

This fort is generally as described.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (RD), 21 March 1966

The remains of the lower wall are confused by farmstead walls, and cannot be reliably related to the fort. Foundations on the footings of the north arm of the wall appear on a 1789 farm plan for Denwan, but the wall is not shown here or on any later map. Only the east wall was incorporated in later walls according to subsequent maps.

J Ainslie 1789; T C Welsh 1975.

Dunwan hillfort was recorded in detail and drawn by ACFA during a survey of the lands based around Dunwan, East Renfrewshire. The triangular-shaped hill top measures 70m x 45m. A number of low, turf-covered banks were noted, along with two slightly hollowed areas, which may be hut circles previously recorded. On the N side of the hill, within the enclosing wall, is a complex of enclosures of varying sizes, which may be associated with animal husbandary. The 12' spread of rampart described by Feachem in 1963 cannot now be seen, although there is still evidence of a substantial and elaborate entrance to the hilltop enclosure at the W-SW end.

S Hunter, R Hunter 2005.

Scheduled as 'Dunwan Hill, fort...'

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 24 February 2011.


Field Visit (5 July 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.

Reference (1957)

This site is noted in the ‘List of monuments discovered during the survey of marginal land (1951-5)’ (RCAHMS 1957, xiv-xviii). The 286 monuments were listed by county, parish, classification and name, and the list included an indication of whether they had been planned (P), whether they were visible only as a cropmark (C), and whether they were worthy of preservation (*).

Drawings are catalogued to individual site records. Investigator's notebooks are availiable in the MS collection. Site descriptions are availiable in contemporary RCAHMS inventories, or in three typescript volumes availiable in the library.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 24 October 2012

Note (8 August 2014 - 16 November 2016)

This fort comprises an inner and outer enclosure, the former taking in the summit of Dunwan Hill, and the latter a much larger area extending down the slope. Roughly triangular on plan, the interior of the inner enclosure measures about 74m from NE to SW by a maximum of 45m transversely (0.27ha), its extent defined by the lip of the summit area, but with evidence of a substantial stone rampart up to on the E and S flanks, now largely reduced to little more than a line of outer facing stones some 3.5m below the lip. A well-defined entrance can be seen at the apex of the SW end, with a hollowed track dropping down the slope below, while within the interior there are traces of two timber round-houses, each defined by a shallow groove about 0.6m in breadth. On the SW, where the outer rampart is overlain by a later stone dyke, the outer defences comprise a low stony bank with an internal ditch some 3m broad, but elsewhere little more than a scarp or terrace can be traced round the foot of the hill, enclosing an oval area measuring about 130m from NE to SW by 90m transversely (0.94ha); terminals to the ditch to either side of the bottom of the hollowed trackway dropping down from the inner entrance suggest that there was also an entrance in the outer defences on the SW. While the OS in 1955 suggested that this outer enclosure was possibly associated with later farming enclosures around the hill, as Richard Feachem observed, it appears a convincing if unusual enclosure on aerial photographs, and he also speculated that there was perhaps yet another rampart amongst the field banks about 20m beyond it.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 16 November 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC1429


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