Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC2789: An Dun, Baligill  

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HER:  Highland HER MHG9744

NMR:  NC 86 NE 2 (6851)

SM:  

NGR:  NC 8566 6626

X:  285660  Y:  966260  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

This small fortification is set on a promontory formed where a narrow spur extends out NNW into an angle in the coastal cliff-line. Thus the ground falls away precipitously on the E and N, but merely descends in a steep slope along the W margin, while access along the relatively level approach on the crest of the spur is barred by an earthen rampart with an external ditch. This cuts off an area measuring about 25m from NNW to SSE by 15m transversely (0.03ha), most of which at the seaward end is occupied by what are evidently substantial stone structures, possibly representing several phases of construction. One element is possibly an oval dun, but the upright stones protruding through the turf in the middle of the interior suggest that another is an aisled structure akin to the wags of Caithness.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed:  Falls well below the 0.2ha threshold, but the topographical position and character of the perimeter works indicate that this is a small promontory fort.

Location

X:  -441663  Y:  8087890  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -3.967526  Latitude:  58.569382  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Highland

Historic County:   Sutherland

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Farr

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:  25.0m

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 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:  ✓  Probably overlain by a wag

None:  No details.

Investigations

RCAHMS also hold photographs by Raymond Lamb, while Highland HER hold a series of colour images.

1st Identified Map Depiction (1873):  Named in Gothic type on the 1st edition OS 6-inch map (Sutherland 1878, sheet 10)
Other (1909):  Description (RCAHMS 1911, 63, no.192)
Other (1960):  Surveyed at 1:2500 by the OS
Other (1971):  Visited and photographed by Raymond Lamb
Earthwork Survey (1972):  Surveyed at 1:500 by Alan Ayre of the OS
Other (1977):  Visited by the OS
Earthwork Survey (1980):  Plan and description by R J Mercer (1981, 130, fig 29; RCAHMS SUD 107/170 & SUD 107/58)
Earthwork Survey (2004):  Plan and description by J E Kirby in Highland HER

Interior Features

Occupied by stone structures of uncertain character but probably including a wag

Water Source

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

Surface

Possibly contain a dun and probably a wag

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

reveal general mess of robbed stone structures

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

Entrances

None known

Total Number of Breaks Through Ramparts:  

Number of Possible Original Entrances:  0:  Not known

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Enclosing Works

Bank and external ditch cutting off a promontory

Enclosed Area 1:  0.03ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.0ha.

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✗  

Number of Ramparts:  1

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

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:  1

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Mercer, R J (1981) Archaeological field survey in northern Scotland: volume II, 1980-81. University of Edinburgh, Department of Archaeology, Occasional Paper No. 7: Edinburgh

RCAHMS (1911) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Second report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Sutherland. HMSO: 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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