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Borness Batteries

Promontory Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Borness Batteries

Classification Promontory Fort (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 63990

Site Number NX64SW 2

NGR NX 61980 44660

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Borgue
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Stewartry
  • Former County Kirkcudbrightshire

Archaeology Notes

NX64SW 2 6198044660.

(NX 6198 4466) Borness Batteries (NR)

OS 6" map (1957)

This well-preserved promontory fort is kite-shaped on plan, measuring about 190' by 160'. The landward defences comprise two ramparts with external ditches, and a third, lesser, rampart on the outer lip of the outer ditch. In 1911, the Commission records parts of a stone parapet on the innermost rampart, but this was not seen in 1951, the inner rampart then having the appearance of a pure earthwork like the other two. Several upright stones are recorded on the medial rampart. Their purpose in not understood.

The entrance cuts the defences 77' north of the cliff face. Some slight traces of rectangular buildings were seen in 1951, abutting the inner bank near the entrance, but the possible hut circle noted in 1911 towards the point of the cliff was not located.

R W Feachem 1963; RCAHMS 1914, visited 1911; TS. 1 October 1951

Generally as described although no trace of any internal structures can now be seen. Name confirmed.

Re-surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (RD) 5 February 1971


Field Visit (1 October 1951)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Marginal Land Survey (1950-1962), an unpublished rescue project.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

Measured Survey (2003)

Surveyed and drawn by AOC Archaeology in 2003.

Note (20 December 2013 - 23 May 2016)

This is one of the larger and better preserved promontory works along this stretch of coast, comprising an arc of two ramparts and ditches, the outer accompanied by a counterscarp bank, cutting off the only line of approach to a precipitous coastal promontory from the NE. The interior measures 62m from NE to SW along the axis of the promontory by a maximum of 50m transversely, but the defences rest on the cliff-edge well beyond the present margins of the promontory, which is otherwise no more than 25m broad, and has evidently once been considerably larger. The innermost and middle ramparts stand up to 3.3m and 1.8m respectively above the inner and outer ditches, which are 9m and 6m in breadth. The entrance lies in the middle of the arc of defences on the NE. Nothing can now be seen of the 'narrow stone parapet' identified In 1911 the RCAHMS investigators on the crest of the innermost ramparts, but several of the five upright stones they noted at intervals along the crest of the middle rampart between the entrance and the cliff-edge on the E can still be seen. A circular depression they noted at the seaward end of the promontory, and the traces of rectangular building noted in 1951 immediately behind the rampart near the entrance, were not found when the earthworks were examined during a coastal erosion evaluation carried out in 1996 (Toolis 2003, 56-7, fig 13).

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 23 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC0247


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