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Morebattle Hill

Fort (Prehistoric), Settlement (Prehistoric)

Site Name Morebattle Hill

Classification Fort (Prehistoric), Settlement (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 58296

Site Number NT72SE 6

NGR NT 7708 2388

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Morebattle
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Roxburgh
  • Former County Roxburghshire

Archaeology Notes

NT72SE 6 7708 2388


Fort and Settlement, Morebattle Hill.

On Morebattle Hill, a grass-grown rock ridge which overlooks the left bank of the Kale Water half a mile due S of Morebattle, there are the remains of a large native fort and a small settlement of later date (See RCAHMS 1956 plan, fig.435). The ridge is long and narrow with its main axis lying NNE and SSW; in the final 50ft its sides rise sharply to the edge of the gently rounded summit-area at a height of 700ft OD. On plan the fort is shaped like an elongated letter D, with the chord to the NW., and measures 620ft in length by 230ft in greatest width within a single rampart which has been sited to include the whole of the summit-plateau. Attached to the SSW end of the fort there is a roughly-triangular annexe, likewise surrounded by a single rampart, which encloses the sloping top of a small rocky shoulder; this annexe measures 155ft in length by 95ft in width at the base of the triangle. On either side of the SSW entrance leading to the annexe the fort rampart survives as a low mound, but elsewhere it has been entirely levelled. Internal rock-cut terraces, up to 20ft wide on the S side and up to 50ft wide on the W, suggest that the rampart was built of rubble; there is no trace of any stone revetment. The annexe rampart appears to have been of the same construction and is in a similarly wasted condition. There are now four entrances to the fort, but only the one at SSW end, which leads into the annexe and is matched by an entrance at the apex of the annexe, is certainly original; the remaining three may be either original or intrusive. The only internal features that may be contemporary with the fort are three circular hollows from 10ft to 12ft in diameter, and a semicircular scoop with a radius of 20ft, which are grouped together near the summit.

An entirely new phase of occupation is attested by the remains of a small settlement situated at the NNE end of the fort and comprising three small contiguous courts, extending in line westwards for 120ft from the NE entrance to the fort, and a triangular garth on the N. The garth is bounded on the NE and NW sides by walls erected on the site of the rampart, and possesses two entrances- one at the NNE apex, opening on to the hillside, and the other between the westernmost of the three courts and a return of the NW boundary-wall. The easternmost court contains the foundations of a rectangular single-roomed structure, measuring about 20ft by 10ft internally, with an entrance in the centre of the W side; while the S walls of the central and westernmost courts incorporate one and two circular huts respectively, each hut measuring 12ft in internal diameter. A fourth hut, more D-shaped than circular, is attached to the S side of the return of the garth wall. The garth, court, and hut walls all appear to have been built of dry stone and to have measured from 3ft to 4ft 6ins in thickness, but they are now reduced to their foundations and are largely turfed over.

RCAHMS 1956, visited 27 August 1947.

The fort on Morebattle Hill (RCAHMS 1956, No.646) is described under the heading of Early Iron Age.

RCAHMS 1956.



NT 7708 2388. As described. RCAHMS plan revised.

Visited by OS (EGC) 10 June 1968.


Note (10 September 2015 - 19 October 2016)

This fort encloses the summit plateau of Morebattle Hill. An irregular oval on plan, it measures 183m from NNE to SSW by 70m transversely (1ha) within a single rampart largely reduced to a scarp extending round the lip of the summit plateau. Internal quarrying has created broad terraces to the rear of the rampart around the SSW end of the fort and a similar feature can be seen within a narrow triangular annexe that extends a further 47m to the SSW. The purpose of this annexe is unclear, though it creates an outer enclosure around the entrance at this end, but there are also entrances through the rampart towards the northern end of both sides, on the NW and NE respectively, and at the apex of the fort on the NNE; a trackway descends obliquely down the slope from the gap on the NE and would have exposed the approaching visitor's right side. The northern tip of the interior beyond the entrance on the NE is occupied by a late Iron Age settlement, which has reused the ramparts to create two sides of a triangular enclosure, its third side incorporating a string of four stone-founded round-houses and three yards or courts. The southernmost of the courts contains a small rectangular building. Elsewhere within the interior of the fort RCAHMS investigators in 1947 recorded three small hollows and a large platform towards the summit of the hill, while aerial photographs suggest the presence of other platforms lower down the slope on the W.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 19 October 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC3420

Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding earthwork or monument.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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