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Barsalloch Point

Promontory Fort (Medieval)

Site Name Barsalloch Point

Classification Promontory Fort (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Barsalloch Fort

Canmore ID 62816

Site Number NX34SW 1

NGR NX 34720 41210

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/62816

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

Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NX34SW 1 34720 41210.

(NX 3472 4121) Camp (NR)

OS 6" map (1957)

This little promontory fort is formed by two horseshoe shaped ramparts with a 33' broad, 12' deep medial ditch, enclosing the tip of a low headland. The entrance appears to have crossed the defences diagonally from the NE, entering the fort at its lowest point, but its actual position is obscured by the construction of a turf field-bank partly over the defences.

RCAHMS 1912, visited 1911; R W Feachem 1963.

Barsalloch Fort (DoE nameplate) is a promontory fort situated on the edge of the coastal slope. It is sub-square measuring internally 42.0m N-S by 44.0m and is contained on three sides by two earthen ramparts with a medial ditch; steep coastal slopes on the south- east provide strong natural defences. The ditch, best preserved on the north-west and south-east, is 10.0m wide and up to 3.5m deep; the banks are up to 2.0m wide and 1.1m high. The entrance is not apparent and the earthwork has been mutilated by a field bank and track on the north east side. Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (TRG) 19 May 1977.

Scheduled as Barsalloch Fort.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 16 July 2002.

Activities

Field Visit (10 October 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This site was included within the RCAHMS Marginal Land Survey (1950-1962), an unpublished rescue project.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.

Publication Account (1986)

This promontory fort is situated on the edge of an old sea-cliff in an area which has produced evidence of human encampments early in the 5th millennium BC. At that remote period post-glacial seas washed the base of the cliff, covering the extensive area of raised beach where the modem road runs.

A stiff climb up the steeply sloping heugh is rewarded with the sight of an iron-age fortification whose landward defences consist of a low mounded rampart on each side of an impressive ditch, about 10m wide overall and 3.5m in depth. The ditch and ramparts are curved on plan; they back on to the straight side of the cliff and thus form a O-shaped enclosure about 0.1 ha in area. The entrance has been in the north-eastern sector but its position has been partly obscured by a later turf dyke.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Dumfries and Galloway’, (1986).

Measured Survey (2003)

Surveyed and drawn by AOC Archaeology in 2003.

Note (20 December 2013 - 9 January 2017)

This small fortification is situated on the edge of the coastal escarpment overlooking the shore on the SW coast of the Machars. D-shaped on plan, its interior measures 38m from NW to SE along the chord by 26m transversely (0.09ha). The defences comprise an arc of twin earthen ramparts with a medial ditch resting at either end upon the edge of the escarpment. The ditch forms the major component of this barrier, measuring up to 10m in breadth by 3.5m in depth, and though the inner rampart barely rises above the level of the interior for much of its course, partly on account of later cultivation, the outer still stands about 1.1m high externally on the NW. Elsewhere it too has been heavily reduced, particularly around the lower side of the perimeter on the NE, where it is also overlain by a later field-bank. It has been assumed that the entrance also lies in this sector, though there is little sign of a causeway crossing the ditch here. Despite the cultivation of the interior there are possible traces of the scarp at the rear of a shallow house-platform on the NW.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 09 January 2017. Atlas of Hillforts SC0219

References

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