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Wester Craiglockhart Hill

Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Wester Craiglockhart Hill

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 52658

Site Number NT27SW 34

NGR NT 2282 7006

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/52658

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Archaeology Notes

NT27SW 34 2282 7006.

(NT 2282 7006). A small, D-shaped, stone-walled fort, measuring 27.0 by 18.0 metres overall, occupies the summit of Wester Craiglockhart Hill. A wide, rock-cut ditch,about 20.0 metres SW of the summit gave additional protection. A comparatively large number of sherds of coarse pottery were found in 1970 when a small-scale excavation was carried out to assist in planning the site.

The wall of the fort was sectioned in 1971,about 6.0 metres NNW of the OS triangulation station, and was found to be only 2.5 metres thick. Although only the lowest course of the inner face survived in situ, the outer facing stones stood to a height of 0.7 metres.

The interior had been seriously disturbed by the construction of a ditched and banked emplacement of recent military origin, but it was established that the original ground level was covered by a confused layer of large blocks of stone and rubble representing the dislocated upper portion of the fort wall, thoroughly mingled with domestic refuse including pot-sherds. Immediately above this layer, were patches of paving and a hearth.

This suggested that the first phase of occupation ended in wholesale destruction, but that only a short period of abandonment occurred before the secondary settlement.

It is not certain when these events took place,but the presence of two fragments of Roman glass as well as a tiny flake of Samian ware and a round bead, apparently of Antrim bauxite, would indicate that the site was probably occupied in the late 1st or the 2nd century AD.

Items from among midden material on this site,which are in the NMAS,having been donated in 1916 and 1918, comprise a bronze armlet, a segment of a jet armlet, a bronze finger ring, and a worked flake of chert. (Acc Nos: HR 671-HR 674).

Ritchie dates the bronze armlet to the 2nd century BC but this is clearly a misprint, his context indicating that the 2nd century AD is intended.

Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1917; 1918; G S Maxwell 1970; 1971; J N G Ritchie and A Ritchie 1972.

No recognisable feature of this fort remains. All of the topsoil has been removed immediately west of the summit while further west a modern gun emplacement overlays the site. There is a rock cut ditch 30.0m west of the summit effectively cutting off approach from that side and 10.0m NNW of the summit is a grass-covered scatter of stones that may be the remains of walling. To the N and S of this site are steep rocky cliffs showing no sign of any artificial work.

Visited by OS (B S) 8 December 1974.

Activities

Aerial Photography (1971)

Oblique aerial photographs of Wester Craiglockhart Hill fort, Edinburgh and Easter Craiglockhart Hill, by Mr John Dewar in 1971.

Note (10 November 2015 - 18 May 2016)

This small fortification crowns the summit of Wester Craiglockart Hill. Unfortunately the whole site has been heavily disrupted and obscured by the construction of three gun emplacements on the summit, but it appears to comprise two elements, namely a small D-shaped enclosure measuring no more than 22m from E to W by 13m transversely within a wall 2.5m in thickness and an outlying rock-cut ditch blocking access to the summit from the W. Attention was first drawn to the site by the discovery in 1916 of a spiral armlet, and the subsequent recovery of a small bronze finger-ring, a fragment of shale bracelet, pottery and domestic debris (Macgregor 1976, no.222). The rock-cut ditch was also recognised at this time (RCAHMS 1929, xxvii-xxviii), but a plan was not prepared until 1970, when Gordon Maxwell also carried out a minor excavation (1970), in the following year sectioning the wall (1971). This revealed two phases in which paving and a hearth were laid down on top of earlier demolition debris and led to the recovery of a relatively large assemblage of coarse pottery, two fragments of Roman glass, a small sherd of samian ware, and a bead of Antrim bauxite.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 18 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC3721

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