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Saline Hill

Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Saline Hill

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Easter Cairn Hill; Sheardrum Plantation

Canmore ID 49705

Site Number NT09SW 4

NGR NT 0428 9335

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Saline
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District Dunfermline
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NT09SW 4 0428 9335.

(Area: NT 0425 9331) The remains of a camp, as it is called, is still to be seen on Saline Hill.

Name Book 1854.

NT 0428 9335 Around the summit of the part of Saline Hill, known as Easter Cairn, are traces of a fort. (Visible on RAF air photographs CPE/Scot/UK 309 5172-3). The principal feature is a terrace on the

south with the course of a stone wall on its crest. This terrace varies from 1.5 - 2.0m in height. It lies a little way below the top of the hill. On the NW the fort is bounded by a sheer cliff, which merges to a steep slope on the north, gradually diminishing towards the east where it is quite gentle. On the west there appears to be an outer rampart with ditch between it and the terrace. The rampart flattened and much spread is only 0.5m in height and some 4.0m in breadth. On the east, the terrace merges with the natural slopes and eventually disappears. Here, the easiest accessible route, are faint traces of an entrance.

The interior of the fort is uneven, save for a small, fairly level, and oval shaped area on the summit, around which there is the very faint suggestion of another wall; but this was not confirmed. No trace of other defences were found.

Visited by OS (JD) 19 June 1953.

Iron Age Hill fort.

Information from R W Feachem (RCAHMS) 27 June 1953.

The remains of a fort crown the summit of Easter Cairn Hill. The main circuit of defences comprise a single rampart set some way down the slope, but there are also traces of what may be an inner enclosure, defined by a low scarp around the summit itself. The scarp, which encloses an area measuring 20m from E to W by 19m transversely, may be largely natural, but its lip is broken by a gap on the ESE, corresponding to the position of the entrance through the rampart on the slope below. This rampart survives as a scarp, which is only lost on the steepest slopes on the NW. It measures 1.8m in maximum height and is accompanied by an external ditch and counterscarp bank when it crosses a narrow spur projecting from the hillside on the W; here there are also traces of a second bank with an external ditch lower down the slope. All these features end abruptly on the crest of the spur.

Visited by RCAHMS (SH) August 1991.


Field Visit (7 May 1952)

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 (15 July 2015 - 17 August 2016)

This fort is situated high up on the Easter Cairn, which is the easternmost of the three summits that make up Saline Hill. Roughly oval on plan, it measures about 62m from ENE to WSW by 40m transversely (0.16ha) within a single rampart largely reduced to a scarp some 1.8m in height. On the crest of the hill on the W there are also traces of an external ditch with a counterscarp bank, while a little further down slope here an outer bank with an external ditch can also be seen. The entrance is on the E, where there are traces of a track leading up onto the flat summit within the interior and breaching the low scarp around its margin. The latter is probably largely natural, but it possibly hides the remains of an inner enclosure measuring internally about 20m from E to W by 19m transversely.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 17 August 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC3179


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