Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC0787: Doon Castle, Ardwell Point  

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HER:  Dumfries & Galloway MDG651

NMR:  NX 40 SE 1 (60487)

SM:  1970

NGR:  NX 0670 4468

X:  206702  Y:  544683  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

The broch on Ardwell Point stands on a promontory that is also protected by a wall drawn across the narrow neck on the N. While generally regarded as an outwork to the broch, there remains the possibility that this is also the remains of an earlier promontory enclosure, though it is by no means inaccessible from its flanks. The wall is at least 2.6m thick, forming a stony scarp on the N, where it faces into a natural gully some 6m broad and 2.3m deep. To either side it turns back southwards towards the broch and while no inner facing-stones are visible, the line of the outer face can be traced along both flanks, on the W standing 1.3m high in seven courses and probably once carried upwards by the outer face of the broch; it was thus possibly no more than a small defended annexe in front of the main entrance to the broch. Nevertheless, this wall also cuts off a much bigger area measuring about 65m from N to S by a maximum of 14m transversely (0.1ha). The presence of a second entrance in the broch giving access to the seaward end of the promontory certainly indicates that this area was also used in conjunction with the interior of the broch. The easiest line of approach to the promontory has always been from the N, and a causeway 1.9m wide and 0.9m high has been constructed across the gully at its neck. The broch itself measures 9m in diameter within a wall that varies between 3.75m and 4.6m in thickness, and is notable for having two opposed entrances.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed:  While generally regarded as an outwork to the broch, the wall to the N blocks access to a much larger promontory, though one considerably smaller than the 0.2ha threshold.

Location

X:  -557243  Y:  7315387  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -5.005802  Latitude:  54.759801  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Dumfries & Galloway

Historic County:   Wigtownshire

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Stoneykirk

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:  10.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

In the absence of excavation, there are neither stratified artefacts nor radiocarbon dates to provide a chronology for the outer 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:  ✗  

Morphology/Earthwork/Typology:  Broch

Investigations

While the headland is named ÇDune of Ardwell' on Roy's map (1747-55), and it is presumably one of the Pictish castles referred to in the New Statistical Account (iv, Wigtonshire, 164), the broch seems to have escaped depiction until the preparation 1847-8 of the 1st edition OS 6-inch map (Wigtownshire 1850, sheet 27). It subsequently appears on the OS 25-inch map (Wigtownshire 1894, sheet 28.12) as a mound hachured inside and out in two opposed crescents. Described in 1911 by Alexander Curle during the preparation of the County Inventory for Wigtownshire (RCAHMS 1912, 152, no.433), in 1955 plans were drawn up by RCAHMS as part of the Survey of Marginal Lands, at which time the outwork was first recognised. In 1972 it was resurveyed at 1:2500 by the OS, and in 1984 revisited again by RCAHMS as part of a wider survey of the Rhinns of Galloway. It was also visite by Euan MacKie in 1967 and 1989 (MacKie 2007, 1325-6)

1st Identified Map Depiction (1848):  Named in Gothic type on the1st edition OS 6-inch map (Wigtownshire 1850, sheet 27)
Other (1911):  Description (RCAHMS 1912, 152, no.433)
Earthwork Survey (1955):  1:120 & 1:300 (RCAHMS WGD 1/1-6; DP 151571-5 & DP023786)
Other (1967):  Description by Euan MacKie (2007, 1325-6)
Other (1972):  Resurveyed at 1:2500 by the OS
Other (1980):  Description by Euan MacKie (2007, 1325-6)
Other (1984):  Description by RCAHMS
Other (1995):  Re-Scheduled (earlier scheduling?)
Other (2014):  Visit by the Hillfort Study Group

Interior Features

Broch

Water Source

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

Surface

Broch

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

NO APPARENT FEATURES

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 (North):  Simple Gap:  Approached by built causeway

Enclosing Works

Single wall across the promontory

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

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✗  

Number of Ramparts:  1

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  
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:  Natural gull serves as a ditch

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Feachem, R (1963) A guide to prehistoric Scotland, London (p 174)

MacKie, E W (2007) The Roundhouses, Brochs and Wheelhouses of Atlantic Scotland c.700 BC-AD 500: architecture and material culture, the Northern and Southern Mainland and the Western Islands, BAR British Ser, Oxford

NSA (1834-1845) The new statistical account of Scotland by the ministers of the respective parishes under the superintendence of a committee of the society for the benefit of the sons and daughters of the clergy.

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

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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