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Doon Of Carsluith

Cultivation Remains (Period Unassigned), Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Doon Of Carsluith

Classification Cultivation Remains (Period Unassigned), Fort (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 63378

Site Number NX45SE 3

NGR NX 4979 5444

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Kirkmabreck
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Wigtown
  • Former County Kirkcudbrightshire

Archaeology Notes

NX45SE 3 4979 5444

Fort (R W Feachem 1956). The promontory, Doon of Carsluith is cut off on the north by a wall 8' thick and now greatly robbed, with a central entrance 9' wide. About 36" behind the wall, at its centre and converging slightly towards the east, is a bold rampart 16" thick at base and showing indications of having been originally surrounded by an inner wall. This also is broken by an entrance about the centre of its course. The steep flanks of the promontory have not been defended, but on the shape of the west side there are two distinct terraces, which may be natural. There appears to have been a track passing up the north slope of the ridge and entering the enceinte at the SW corner.

RCAHMS 1914; R W Feachem 1956.

NX 4980 5443 The fort on Doon of Carsluith is sub-rectangular and measures internally about 130.0m NW-SE by 90.0 transversely.

The defences comprise an outer rampart along the NE side, terminating above a steep outcrop at the N end but fading, midway towards the SE, to a scarp (with a berm) at the foot of natural slopes and an inner rampart, visible as such on the NW, N and NE but reduced elsewhere to a scarp, particularly weak on the SW and SE. There are no internal features.

Both lines of defence, where visible as ramparts, exhibit a mass of stone, but only the occasional stone is visible elsewhere. It is not possible to determine whether the defences were of stone or earth-and-stone. The entrance is in the N corner. A second break in the inner rampart to the W is probably a mutilation.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (RD) 26 August 1970

This fort occupies the summit of Doon of Carsluith, a knoll which rises steeply from the shore of Wigtown Bay to a height of 176m OD. Steep slopes protect the site on the W and S, while to the E a deeply incised gully separates it from the higher ground on Doon of Stroans, and the only easy approach is from the N, over gently-rising ground.

The fort is subrectangular, and measures about 126m from NW to SE by 74m transversely within a wall which has been reduced to a slight scarp except on the NW and NE, where it is spread to 4.3m in thickness and stands up to 1.3m above the ground outside. Occasional outer facing-stones are visible. There is an entrance on the N which appears to be original, but two other gaps, one on the NW and the other at the S corner, are probably secondary. Additional defence was provided on the N by an outer wall which blocked off the easier approach from that direction. At its W end this wall springs from the edge of a cliff; from there it rounds the N corner of the fort before fading out as a slight scarp on the slope below the main NE wall. It has a single entrance on the N, in line with that through the main wall. To the W of the entrance the outer wall measures 1.9m between facing stones but at the wall terminal it has been spread to a thickness of 4.3m, while to the E of the entrance it is poorly preserved. The fairly flat interior of the fort has been ploughed over, leaving no trace of any internal structures.

(Cree94 203)

Visited by RCAHMS (SDB) 12 April 1994


Field Visit (29 September 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.

Note (20 December 2013 - 23 May 2016)

This fort overlooks the mouth of the Dee estuary above Carsluith Castle and occupies a local summit which lends itself to defence, with steep slopes and rock faces on most flanks, and a deeply incised gully separating it from the rising ground to the NE. Subrectangular on plan, the fort measures internally 126m from NW to SE by 74m transversely (0.83ha) and is defended by two walls. The main wall, which probably formed a complete circuit, is best preserved on the N and NE, where occasional outer facing-stones can be seen in a spread of rubble up to 4.3m in thickness and 1.3m in height externally, while elsewhere there is little more than a scarp to mark its line around the margin of the summit. Additional defence on the gentle northern approach is provided by an outer wall, which springs from the edge of a cliff on the W and fades away into a terrace that peters out on the steep slope below the main wall on the E. It measures 1.9m in thickness where both faces survive on the N, but otherwise it too is spread to a maximum thickness of 4.3m. The original entrance is on the N, facing NNE out onto the easiest line of approach. Other gaps on the NW and S are probably more recent, though from the latter a track descends obliquely through a lower terrace that can be traced round the S and W flanks of the fort and is possibly the remains of an outer line of defence on these sides. The interior has been cultivated and is now featureless.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 23 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC0236


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