Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC2900: Dun Creich  

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HER:  Highland HER MHG10024

NMR:  NH 68 NE 1 (13808)

SM:  1856

NGR:  NH 6510 8824

X:  265100  Y:  888240  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

This fort encloses the summit of a ridge that rises from the southern end of a spit of land running out into the Dornoch Firth from the Sutherland shore. Its defences comprise two walls forming inner and outer enclosures, and at the centre of the inner the foundation of a rectangular medieval keep can also be seen. The inner wall, which has been heavily robbed, encloses an oval area measuring about 52m from E to W by 30m transversely (0.12ha), and at the foot of a slope immediately outside its line on the W there is a large mass of vitrifaction. The outer enclosure takes in a much larger area, and measures about 80m from NE to SW by 67m transversely within an equally ruinous wall, which follows the lip of the steep and rocky flanks of the hill on the N, E and S; in 1911 Alexander Curle also found a piece of vitrified stone in this line on the S. Two entrances into the outer enclosure are visible, one approached up the steep slope on the E, and the other up the more accessible crest of the ridge from the W. Apart from the keep, which itself stands within a small enclosure, the interior is featureless. A well shown on OS maps immediately outside the outer enclosure on the S is a natural crevice which gathers water. The relationship between the inner and outer enclosures is unknown.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed

Location

X:  -475940  Y:  7938656  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -4.275446  Latitude:  57.863301  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Highland

Historic County:   Sutherland

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Creich

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:  110.0m

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:  ✓  The interior is partly occupied by a medieval castle on the very summit

None:  No details.

Investigations

Richard Feachem (1963, 158) combines measurements for the outer enclosure from the RCAHMS County Inventory for Sutherland (1911, 20-1, no.54), which Alexander Curle derived from the OS depiction, with for the inner slightly different measurements probably derived from his own fieldwork. Highland HER hold photographs.

1st Identified Written Reference (1793):  Vitrifaction noted (Stat Acct, 8, 1793, 373)
Other (1834):  Vitrifaction note (NSA 15, Sutherland, 18)
1st Identified Map Depiction (1874):  Named and annotated Vitrified Fort on the 1st edition OS 25-inch map (Sutherland 1879, sheet 111.12)
Other (1909):  Description (RCAHMS 1911, 20-1, no.54)
Other (1935):  Scheduled
Other (1951):  Description by Richard Feachem (1963, 158)
Other (1963):  Revised at 1:2500 by the OS
Other (1969):  Visited and description by the OS
Other (1980):  Surveyed at 1:10,000 by the OS

Interior Features

Featureless apart from the castle

Water Source

Natural crevice collects water immediately outside the outer wall on the S

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:  2:  No entrance discernible into the inner enclosure

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Entrance 1 (East):  Simple Gap:  Possibly forming a shallow re-entrant in the line of the wall
Entrance 2 (West):  Simple Gap:  Outer wall

Enclosing Works

Two walls forming eccentric enclosures around the summit

Enclosed Area 1:  0.12ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  0.45ha.
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.4ha.

Total Footprint Area:  0.5ha.

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  The course of the two walls converges on the NW and they may have a stratigraphic relationship, but it cannot be resolved without excavation.

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✓  

Number of Ramparts:  2

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  2
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  2
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  2
Number of Ramparts NW Quadrant:  2

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:  ✗  While the outer enclosure might be construed as an annexe, it is more likely to represent a separate period of enclosure.

References

Cotton, M A (1954) 'British camps with timber-laced ramparts'. Archaeol J 111 (1954), 26-105 (p 78)

Feachem, R (1963) A guide to prehistoric Scotland. Batsford: London

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 (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. Edinburgh: Edinburgh

Stat Acct (Date) Statistical Account of Scotland: Drawn up from the Communications of the Ministers of the Different Parishes (Sinclair, J ed), 1791-99

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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