Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC2904: Cromal Mount  

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

HER:  Highland HER MHG36068

NMR:  NH 75 NE 29 (163552)

SM:  2823

NGR:  NH 7825 5552

X:  278259  Y:  855525  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

Cropmarks have revealed an arc of at least two ditches cutting across the corner of the arable field SE of Cromal Mount, a probable motte standing on edge of the escarpment overlooking Ardesier, though whether they are the remains of a bailey or the defences of an earlier fort barring the SE approach to what was in effect a promontory on the escarpment is not known. The cropmarks of the ditches themselves are not very well defined and are possibly pierced by an entrance facing SE, two ditches extending to its SW to the lip of the escarpment, and possibly three northwards to disappear at the corner of the field. While the arc may be traced over a total distance of 100m, it is unclear what the original extent of these fortifications may be, and whether they include elements of the works demolished in the early 19th century (NSA, 14, Inverness-shire, 470-1), which included an 'earthen mound' or 'raised approach' leading up to the motte from this side. An evaluation carried out in 1989 concluded that the present topography of the motte and its surroundings had been extensively modified by quarrying for sand and gravel, though the remains of a low bank were found enclosing the summit of the motte (Carter 1989; 1990).

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed

Location

X:  -449424  Y:  7878233  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -4.037244  Latitude:  57.57341  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Highland

Historic County:   Inverness-shire

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Ardesier

Condition

The remains of the motte remain visible, but bits have been destroyed by gravel extraction, and some parts only revealed by cropmarks on aerial photographs

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:  46.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

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:  ✓  Motte constructed

None:  No details.

Investigations

RCAHMS collection holds a plan ostensibly prepared in 1924 (RCAHMS IND 2/1-2)

1st Identified Written Reference (1841):  Description and demolition (NSA, 14, Inverness-shire, 470-1)
1st Identified Map Depiction (1878):  Annotated Fort on the 1st edition OS 25-inch map (Inverness-shire 1881, sheet 1.6)
Other (1973):  Visited by the OS
Earthwork Survey (1989):  For evaluation (Carter 1989; 1990; RCAHMS DC45824)
Excavation (1989):  Evaluation (Carter 1989; 1990, 41)
Other (1996):  Fort identified from cropmarks recorded by RCAHMS
Other (2011):  Motte Scheduled, excluding the area of the ditches revealed by cropmarks

Interior Features

Largely occupied by the motte and quarries

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

Bronze pin (possibly lost)

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:  1:  Ploughed flat

Number of Possible Original Entrances:   

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Entrance 1 (Southeast):  Simple Gap

Enclosing Works

Two or three ditches, possibly cutting across a promontory

Enclosed Area 1:  
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  Area unknown but possibly as much as 0.7ha

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✗  

Number of Ramparts:  2

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

Evaluation identified a low bank on the lip of the motte

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:  2:  At least two ditches, possibly three

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Carter, S (1989) 'Cromal Mount (Ardersier parish), motte, probable'. Disc Exc Scot (1989), 28

Carter, S (1990) 'Assessment of a motte at Ardersier, Inverness District', Historic Scotland, Archaeological Operations and Conservation, Annual Report 1989, Edinburgh

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. 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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