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Mull Of Galloway

Field Boundary (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Mull Of Galloway

Classification Field Boundary (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 61050

Site Number NX13SW 16

NGR NX 1417 3101

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Kirkmaiden
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Wigtown
  • Former County Wigtownshire

Archaeology Notes

NX13SW 16 1417 3101 to 1426 3104.

(Centred: NX 1422 3103) Earthwork (NR)

OS 6" map (1957)

This earthwork consists of a single rampart (or wall) without any apparent ditch. E of the road, where it is best preserved, it takes the form of a natural ridge which has been steeply scarped on the N side and capped with a mound or wall. The maximum height of the scarp is 11'6". In a sheep-rub near the top of the outer face, there is a single line of boulders, each c. 1' long, lying horizontally and embedded in rock rubble, which may be the remains of a wall. Otherwise, the work is turf- covered and shows no signs of facings.

W of the road, the rampart underlies a dyke and is at most 3' high. The outer face is well-defined on the N side of the dyke but the inner one is vague due to later disturbance. The two low parallel mounds some 9' distant, passing down the slope towards the shore, seem to be connected with the earthwork, but are probably nothing more than upcast mounds from a drainage ditch coming from the lowest part of a cultivated field. The earthwork should have finished a short distance E of this drain, on the actual neck of the isthmus, but of this there is now no sign.

It is very doubtful whether this earthwork is defensive or of any great antiquity. It is easily out-flanked and of modest size, though it has been made slightly more formidable E of the road by basing it on a natural ridge (see also NX13SW 17).

RCAHMS TS 29 June 1955

As described. A probable 18th - 19th century field wall. Not an antiquity.

Revised at 25".

Visited by OS (RD) 9 February 1972

The remains of this boundary work cut across the neck of the Mull of Galloway immediately S of the enclosed fields of Mull farm. To the W of the road it has been reduced to little more than a low swelling beneath the field-dyke, and measures a maximum of 2.8m in thickness by 0.5m in height. To the E of the road it runs along the crest of a prominent natural ridge. At one point a number of large boulders which appear to be the remains of a face, have been exposed; here the bank is 2.3m thick and 0.5m high. The N face of the ridge presents a steep scarp up to 3.5m high which may have been deliberately constructed. The date of the work is unknown.

RCAHMS 1985, visited (SH) July 1984; NMRS SAS 456, 457


Field Visit (29 June 1955)

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.

Excavation (2000)

NX 1425 3075 (centre) An archaeological survey, geophysical survey and evaluative excavations were undertaken on two linear earthworks at the Mull of Galloway (NMRS NX 13 SW 16 and 17) to assess the extent of erosion to the site (largely by cattle).

A detailed measured survey of the earthworks was undertaken, and a vegetation survey was also carried out by the Natural Resource Consultancy. Sample geophysical survey was undertaken across the earthworks in an attempt to identify internal structural components.

Excavation was undertaken on eroded areas of both monuments and immediately adjacent areas for purposes of comparison. Four trenches were excavated: two across the inner earthwork (Trenches 1 and 2) and two across the outer (Trenches 3 and 4). The evidence of Trenches 1 and 2 demonstrated the presence of a complex monument, with the following components running from inside to out: a cobble spread; a large inner ditch; an inner rampart; a medial bank and ditch; and an outer bank and ditch. The rampart and inner ditch demonstrated at least two phases to their construction. Palisade trenches were associated with the primary phase, and both secondary castings comprised turf and earth deposits. Relative phasing between the constructions of the multiple components of the inner rampart, medial bank and ditch and outer bank and ditch could not be detected other than that the secondary recasting of the inner rampart took place after the medial ditch had been infilled.

The outer earthwork comprised a simple dump rampart along its inner length, and a stone core and dump rampart along its outer face. The excavations demonstrated that the outer rampart is considerably larger than previously thought, surviving generally c 2m high (and up to 4m where best preserved). This evidence shows that the rampart does not capitalise on a natural ridge but that the whole of this feature is artificial. How far this rampart continues to the S remains to be determined.

A report has been lodged with the NMRS (MS/1081/3)

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

R Strachan 2000.


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