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Fort (Iron Age)

Site Name Fallburn

Classification Fort (Iron Age)

Alternative Name(s) Tankerton; Totherin Hill

Canmore ID 47509

Site Number NS93NE 6

NGR NS 9619 3674

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council South Lanarkshire
  • Parish Covington And Thankerton
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Clydesdale
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NS93NE 6 9619 3674.

(NS 9619 3674) Fort (NR)

OS 25" map, (1971).

This fort is situated at a height of about 280m OD, on the N flank of Totherin Hill. It is almost circular on plan (see RCAHMS 1978, fig.58), measuring 64m by 55m within double ramparts and ditches, the outer ditch being accompanied by a slight upcast bank on the counterscarp round all but the NE quarter of the circuit. The defences are in a comparatively good state of preservation, the inner rampart being 12.2m in thickness at the base and up to 2.8m above the interior and 3.0m above the bottom of the inner ditch. The bulk of the material used in its construction has come from its external ditch, but a considerable amount has also been provided from the surface of the interior, and the resultant broad, shallow depression on the inner edge of the rampart is especially noticeable in the NW quadrant. An unusual feature of the inner rampart is that it is surrounded by some slight remains of a wall about 3.0m thick. On the S side it can be seen that the core of the wall is mainly of stone, while a few stones of both the inner and outer faces are still visible. It seems unlikely that this wall is an original feature, but rather represents a reconstruction or strengthening of the defences during a later phase of occupation (cf NS92SW 1).

The substantial outer rampart is 6m in average thickness and rises up to 1.8m above each of the ditches. The counterscarp bank stands 1.0m above the ditch and 0.5m above the ground outside. There are two entrances, on the ENE and WNW respectively; at each the ramparts return and unite round the ends of the inner ditch.

Within the interior there is a roughly circular enclosure of no great age formed by a low turf bank. A small stony mound within its SE quadrant is probably associated with it.

RCAHMS 1978, visited 1975.

This fort was in a similar condition when seen in 1968.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 2 February 1968.


Publication Account (1985)

This well-preserved circular fort is situated on a slight knoll that offers little natural strength. The defences comprise twin ramparts and ditches with a slight counterscarp bank around the lip of much of the outer ditch. On top of the inner bank there are the remains of a stone wall which probably represents a second peliod of construction, thus resembling the sequence at Arbory Hill (no. 79) and BlackhilL Crawfordjohn (no. 80). The fort has two entrances but there are no traces of any houses in the interior and all that can be seen are a recent turf dyke and a slight scoop behind the rampart which was probably dug to provide extra material for the defences.

An almost carbon copy of this fort is to be found about 3km to the north-north-west on the summit of Chester Hill (NS 953395), but it is not as wellpreserved as Fallburn and does not have evidence for a second peliod.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Clyde Estuary and Central Region’, (1985).

Note (27 August 2014 - 23 May 2016)

This fort situated in the gently shelving moorland at the foot of the northern flank of the Tinto Hills is remarkably well-preserved, with a strong multivallate defence comprising two ramparts with external ditches, the outer of which is also accompanied around most of the circuit by a counterscarp bank. The inner rampart measures up to 12m in thickness by 2.8m in internal height, and appears to be capped by a stone wall some 3m in thickness. The interior, which measures 64m from NE to SW by 55m transversely (0.27ha), has evidently been utilised in the post-medieval period as a pound or fold and the greater part is enclosed by a low turf bank. At both of the entrances, on the ENE and WNW respectively, the two ramparts return and unite around the terminals of the ditches to form an entrance passage.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 23 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC1715


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