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Bodsberry Hill

Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Bodsberry Hill

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 47288

Site Number NS91NE 1

NGR NS 9637 1686

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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Administrative Areas

  • Council South Lanarkshire
  • Parish Crawford
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Clydesdale
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NS91NE 1 963 168.

(NS 9637 1686) Fort (NR)

(NS 9634 1687 Old Well (NAT)

OS 6" map (1962)

A fort, measuirng 105m by 76m internally, occupies the summit of Bodsberry Hill (401m O D), a conspicuous eminence. It has been defended by a single stone wall (A on plan), accompanied on the more vulnerable NW and SE sides by traces of an outer wall (B).

Except on the N and NW, where it appears as a low, stony bank measuring up to 5.5m in thickness, wall A is reduced to a mere scarp, in which several outer facing-stones are visible. There are four gaps in the wall, all of which probably represent original entrances, but only at that on the NW can facing stones of the entrance passage still be seen. Wall B now survives only on the NW and SE sectors, but may originally have extended round the entire perimeter. On the N it appears as a grass-covered stony bank 3.4m in average thickness with a single surviving inner facing stone and a well-defined internal quarry-ditch; elsewhere it appears as a low scarp. The two gaps in wall B, situated in line with the entrances in the inner defence, presumably occupy the sites of original entrances, although the one on the NW has clearly been widened in recent times.

Though Feachem (R W Feachem 1963) notes slight traces of timber-framed houses in the interior, no trace of them was found by the RCAHMS, the interior being covered with a rank growth of coarse grass and reeds. The circular depression marked on the plan has been shown by excavation (G Irving and A Murray 1864) to be the site of a well or cistern, possibly contemporary with the fort.

RCAHMS 1978, visited 1975

This fort was generally as described when seen in 1959.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 30 July 1959.


Note (22 August 2014 - 16 August 2016)

This fort is situated on the summit of Bodsberry Hill, which rises steeply from the E bank of the River Clyde to the SE of Elvanfoot. Tailored to the topography, it forms an irregular plan, measuring up to 105m from NW to SE by 76m transversely (0.65ha) within a stone rampart largely reduced to a scarp in which occasional outer facing-stones are visible. Additional protection is provided by an outer rampart, which though only visible on the NW and SE, peters out onto natural breaks of slope that extend around the rest of the circuit; on the N, where the rampart forms a bank 3.4m in thickness, it is accompanied by an internal quarry ditch, but elsewhere its line is marked by little more than a low scarp. There are four entrances, on the NW, NE, SE and SW respectively, the first still retaining facing-stones on the NE side of the passage. A depression partly encircled by a bank in the W quadrant of the interior was shown by excavation before 1864 to be a well or cistern (Irving and Murray 1864, vol 1, 9), and while no other structures were depicted when surveyed by RCAHMS in 1959, the investigators were aware of possible traces of timber round-houses (Feachem 1963, 134-5), and several have been revealed by subsequent aerial photography taken under snow in 1980.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 16 August 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC1631


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