Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC2668: Kay Craig  

(Pairney Burn; Easter Coul Cottage)

Sources: Esri, DigitalGlobe, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, GeoEye, USDA FSA, USGS, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, and the GIS User Community

HER:  Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust MPK1405

NMR:  NN 91 SE 17 (26054)

SM:  9373

NGR:  NN 9744 1287

X:  297440  Y:  712870  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

The remains of a small fortification are situated on the summit of Kay Craig, a knoll forming the NW side of a precipitous gorge opposite Castle Craig (Atlas No.2650). The summit of the knoll is crowned by a substantial circular stone structure measuring about 11m in internal diameter and 20m overall, but this lies within a larger enclosure that backs onto the escarpment falling away into the gorge on the SE. Roughly oval on plan, this latter measures some 65m from NE to SW by up to 30m transversely (0.15ha) within a single wall, which can be traced round the shoulder of the knoll on the N and SW, and spans a shallow gully on the NW; apparently earth-cored with stone faces, the wall measures about 3m in thickness and up to 1m in height. A gap on the NW is probably a result of quarrying activity on the knoll, which is clearly in evidence on the N flank of the summit, but a second gap on the SW, where the wall terminates on the outcrops short of the edge of the escarpment, possibly marks the original entrance into the interior. There is also a line of boulders on the leading edge of a lower terrace below the wall on the SW, though whether part of the defences or a later feature is unknown.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed:  Falls below the 0.2ha threshold, but there is no reason to regard the outer enclosure as an outwork to the structure on the summit. The topographical position and defences indicate this is a small fort.

Location

X:  -407299  Y:  7617806  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -3.658832  Latitude:  56.297189  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Perth & Kinross

Historic County:   Perthshire

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Auchterarder

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:  105.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

Three dates from the fort wall lie between 800-400 BC, though another from a later phase is AD 50-400, tying in with another five from the structure on the summit; a fragment of Roman glass was also found; and there was later occupation in the medieval period

Reliability:  D - None

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

Pre Hillfort Activity:  ✗  

Post Hillfort Activity:  ✓  Heavy robbing and planted with deciduous woodland

Artefactual:  No details.
C14:  Nine dates

Investigations

Hidden beneath woodland in the mid 19th century, it does not appear on early editions of the OS 6-inch and 25-inch maps

1st Identified Map Depiction (1783):  Annotated Castle in ruins on James Stobie's map of The Counties of Perth and Clackmannan (1783)
Other (1979):  Description and rediscovery (Sherriff 1979)
Other (2002):  Scheduled
Excavation (2014):  Evaluation directed by Tessa Poller for Glasgow University SERF project
Earthwork Survey (2014):  By RCAHMS for Glasgow University SERF project (RCAHMS DC57659; GV005443)

Interior Features

Featureless apart the circular stone structure occupying the summit of the knoll

Water Source

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

Surface

Substantial circular stone building

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

Excavation

Substantial circular stone building

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

Fragment of Roman glass; also medieval pottery from later occupation.

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:  1:  Position of the entrance is uncertain, though possibly on the SW

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Entrance 1 (Southwest):  Simple Gap

Enclosing Works

Single rampart

Enclosed Area 1:  0.15ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.2ha.

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✗  This does not include the wall of the structure on the summit

Number of Ramparts:  1

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  
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:  ✗  

References

Sherriff, J (1979) 'Kay Craig (Auchterarder p) enclosure'. Disc Exc Scot (1979), 44

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.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.