Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC2790: An Tornaidh Bhuidhe  

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HER:  Highland HER MHG9739

NMR:  NC 86 NE 3 (6856)

SM:  

NGR:  NC 8670 6617

X:  286700  Y:  966170  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

A spectacularly narrow and cliff-girt promontory, accessible only via a razor-backed col from the cliffs on the S, has evidently been enclosed and occupied. From the col the ground rises some 4m to the crest of a low bank that can be traced round the lip of the promontory, enclosing an area measuring about 47m in length and expanding from a narrow point above the col to a maximum of 10m in breadth at the seaward end on the N (0.02ha). Three hollows, variously planned as oval or subrectangular, are set transversely across the broader part of the interior and are probably the footings of buildings; there is also a small terrace cut into the foot of the slope above the cliff-edge at the very tip of the promontory on the N.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed:  Falls well below the 0.2ha threshold and is probably an early Christian monastic site, but nevertheless should be included as a potential promontory fort in light of its bank

Location

X:  -439669  Y:  8087776  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -3.949612  Latitude:  58.568846  (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:  60.0m

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:  ✗  

None:  No details.

Investigations

RCAHMS holds photographs by Raymond Lamb, and Highland HER holds a series of colour images.

1st Identified Map Depiction (1873):  Annotated Fort on the 1st edition OS 6-inch map (Sutherland 1878, sheet 10; Name Book, Sutherland, No.20, p 73)
Other (1909):  Description (RCAHMS 1911, 63-4, no.193)
Other (1960):  Visited by the OS
Other (1971):  Visited and photographed by Raymond Lamb
Earthwork Survey (1977):  Planned at 1:625 by John MacRae of the OS
Earthwork Survey (1980):  Plan and description by R J Mercer (1981, 130, fig 28; RCAHMS SUD 107/169 & SUD 107/59)
Other (1981):  Surveyed at 1:10,000 by the OS
Earthwork Survey (2004):  Plan and description by J E Kirby in Highland HER

Interior Features

At least three structures reduced to little more than scoops within low banks

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

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:  0:  Can only be on the S

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Enclosing Works

Single bank around lip of promontory

Enclosed Area 1:  0.02ha.
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:  1
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  1
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:  

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. Site 237.

Name Book, Ordnance Survey Object Name Books (6 inch and 1/2500 scale); available http://www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/

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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