Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC0207: Cruise Back Fell  

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HER:  Dumfries & Galloway MDG1699

NMR:  NX 16 SE 6 (61644)

SM:  1965

NGR:  NX 1794 6219

X:  217940  Y:  562190  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

This fort crowns the broken summit of Cruise Back Fell, which comprises a spine of outcrop with a rocky boss on the N and another outlying outcrop on the SW. These have been linked by a thick wall, though little of it remains on the rocky spine, which forms a natural rampart on the E side of the interior. Around the lip of the boss on the N, however, it forms a mound of rubble about 6m in thickness by a maximum of 0.9m in height, while on the S, where it spans the gap between the spine and the outlying outcrop, it is up to 8m in thickness by 1.5m in height. The interior, which measures some 37m from N to S by 18m transversely (0.07ha) gives the appearance that it has been divided into two, the greater part being a terrace some 20m in length by 8m in breadth to the W of the spine, with the boss forming an upper enclosure on the N. This latter, however, is almost certainly a later sheep ree, and virtually none of the stonework visible at this end is in situ remains of the fort wall. Other parts of the wall have also been extensively robbed and reconfigured, both for the construction of another ree in the S end of the interior and to create what is probably a related enclosure taking in a lower terrace outside the fort on the W. The entrance to the fort lies midway along the W side and utilises a natural cleft in the outcrops.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed:  Although the interior falls well below the 0.2ha threshold, there can be little doubt about the fortified character of this hilltop enclosure

Location

X:  -539055  Y:  7346575  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -4.842414  Latitude:  54.921136  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Dumfries & Galloway

Historic County:   Wigtownshire

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  New Luce

Condition

Extant:  
Cropmark:  
Likely Destroyed:  

Land Use

Woodland:  
Commercial Forestry Plantation:  
Parkland:  
Pasture (Grazing):  
Arable:  
Scrub/Bracken:  
Bare Outcrop:  
Heather/Moorland:  
Heath:  
Built-up:  
Coastal Grassland:  
Other:  

Landscape

Hillfort Type

Contour Fort:  
Partial Contour Fort:  
Promontory Fort:  
Hillslope Fort:  
Level Terrain Fort:  
Marsh Fort:  
Multiple Enclosure Fort:  

Topographic Position

Hilltop:  
Coastal Promontory:  
Inland Promontory:  
Valley Bottom:  
Knoll/Hillock/Outcrop:  
Ridge:  
Cliff/Plateau-edge/Scarp:  
Hillslope:  
Lowland:  
Spur:  

Dominant Topographic Feature:  

Aspect

North:  
Northeast:  
East:  
Southeast:  
South:  
Southwest:  
West:  
Northwest:  
Level:  

Elevation

Altitude:  130.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

An educated guess would link the character of this small fort with early medieval fortifications like Trusty's Hill and Mote of Mark. In the absence of excavation, there are neither stratified artefacts nor radiocarbon dates to provide a chronology for the defences.

Reliability:  D - None

Pre 1200BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
400BC - AD50:  
AD50 - AD400:  
AD400 - AD 800:  
Post AD800:  
Unknown:  

Pre Hillfort Activity:  ✗  

Post Hillfort Activity:  ✗  

None:  No details.

Investigations

First shown as a cairn on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Wigtownshire 1848, sheet 11), the depiction was refined on the 25-inch map in 1893 and annotated Fort (Wigtownshire 1894, sheet 12.12). The fort was noted by George Wilson (1885, 63; 1899, 175) and later described and planned for the County Inventory of Wigtownshire, the plan almost certainly by the hand of Fred Macgibbon (RCAHMS 1912, 87-8, No. 244, fig 59). Revisited by RCAHMS in 1953 and re-surveyed at 1:2500 by the OS in 1968, the fort was surveyed yet again by RCAHMS in 1986. Revisited yet again in 2013, all previous investigators are probably mistaken in their interpretation of the interior as an upper enclosure on the boss and an annexe or lower enclosure on the terrace to the S.

1st Identified Map Depiction (1847):  Named in Gothic type on the 1st edition OS 6-inch map (Wigtownshire 1848, sheet 11)
1st Identified Written Reference (1885):  Noted by George Wilson (1885, 63)
Other (1893):  Annotated Fort on the 25-inch map (Wigtownshire 1894, sheet 12.12)
Earthwork Survey (1911):  Plan and description (RCAHMS 1912, 87-8, No. 244, fig 59)
Other (1924):  Scheduled
Other (1953):  Description during RCAHMS Survey of Marginal Lands
Other (1968):  Resurveyed at 1:2500 by the OS
Earthwork Survey (1986):  Plan and description (RCAHMS DC57605 )
Other (1995):  Re-Scheduled
Other (2013):  Visit by S Halliday and S Woods in preparation for the Hillfort Study Group meeting

Interior Features

Featureless apart from later sheep rees.

Water Source

None:  
Spring:  
Stream:  
Pool:  
Flush:  
Well:  
Other:  

Surface

No Known Features:  
Round Stone Structures:  
Rectangular Stone Structures:  
Curvilinear Platforms:  
Other Roundhouse Evidence:  
Pits:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  

Excavation

No Known Excavation:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Geophysics

No Known Geophysics:  
Pits:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Finds

No Known Finds:  
Pottery:  
Metal:  
Metalworking:  
Human Bones:  
Animal Bones:  
Lithics:  
Environmental:  
Other:  

Aerial

APs Not Checked:  
None:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Other:  

Entrances

See main summary

Total Number of Breaks Through Ramparts:  

Number of Possible Original Entrances:   

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Entrance 1 (West):  Simple Gap

Enclosing Works

Single wall

Enclosed Area 1:  0.07ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.1ha.

Total Footprint Area:  0.12ha.

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✓  

Number of Ramparts:  1

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts NW Quadrant:  1

Current Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  
Unknown:  

Multi-period Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:  
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  

Surface Evidence

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Rubble:  
Wall-walk:  
Evidence of Timber:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
Other:  

Excavated Evidence

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Murus Duplex:  
Timber-framed:  
Timber-laced:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
No Known Excavation:  
Other:  

Gang Working

Gang Working:  ✗ 

Ditches

Ditches:  

Number of Ditches:  

Annex

Annex:  ✗  In spite of the views of earlier commentators, see 'Enclosing works'.

References

Feachem, R (1963b) A guide to prehistoric Scotland, London (p 160)

RCAHMS (1912) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Fourth report and inventory of monuments and constructions in Galloway, 1, county of Wigtown, Edinburgh

Wilson, G (1885) 'Description of ancient forts, etc., in Wigtownshire'. Archaeol Hist Collect Ayrshire Galloway 5 (1885), 62-73

Wilson, G (1899) 'List of the antiquities of Glenluce, Wigtownshire, with descriptive notes', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 33

Terms of Use

The online version of the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland should be cited as:

Lock, G. and Ralston, I. 2017.  Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland. [ONLINE] Available at: https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk.

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