Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC2920: An Dun  

(Carn Liath)

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

HER:  Highland HER MHG9158

NMR:  NH 59 SE 5 (13062)

SM:  

NGR:  NH 5669 9098

X:  256690  Y:  890980  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

This fortification is situated on a promontory formed at the confluence of the Allt Downie and the River Carron, both of which have incised deep gorges into the rocks at this point of their courses. Its defences comprise two elements: a broch reduced to little more than a mound on the crest of the promontory; and at least two ramparts with external ditches cutting across the neck to bar access from the E. The dimensions of the area enclosed on the promontory are not recorded, but the broch-mound straddles virtually the whole of the crest, which is thus in the order of 20m in breadth, and other measurements noted in 1943 by Angus Graham and Gordon Childe suggest an overall length of about 80m (0.25ha) to the rear of the inner of the outer ramparts. Measuring over 6m in thickness by 0.9m in internal height, this stands 3m above the bottom of an external ditch 8m in breadth, and is drawn in an arc across the neck to terminate at an entrance approaching along the S margin of the promontory. The outer rampart and ditch appear to enhance natural features, but traces of an inner face are visible and a rock-cut section of the ditch on the crest of the promontory is 4.4m broad; a possible third rampart can also be seen outside this line. Apart from the broch, the only feature in the interior is a terrace where a summer-house stood overlooking the river at the W tip of the promontory.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed:  Conventionally the outworks to a broch, but the outer defences cut off a promontory above the 0.2ha threshold

Location

X:  -491889  Y:  7943255  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -4.41871  Latitude:  57.885271  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Highland

Historic County:   Sutherland

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Kincardine

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:  30.0m

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:  ✓  Robbing and a summerhouse was erected on the W tip of the interior

None:  No details.

Investigations

1st Identified Map Depiction (1875):  Named in Gothic type and annotated 'Supposed Pictish Fort' on the 1st edition OS 25-inch map (Ross-shire 1881, sheet 26.3)
Other (1904):  Noted (Watson 1904, 31)
Other (1943):  Description by Angus Graham and Gordon Childe for RCAHMS wartime Emergency Surveys
Other (1969):  Revised at 1:2500 by the OS
Other (1976):  Visited by the OS

Interior Features

Featureless apart from the broch

Water Source

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

Surface

Broch

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

Obscured by trees

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:   

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Entrance 1 (Southeast):  Simple Gap

Enclosing Works

Two ramparts and ditches cutting off a promontory occupied by a broch

Enclosed Area 1:  0.25ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.3ha.

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  Very rough estimate of the size of the interior

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✗  

Number of Ramparts:  3

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  3
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:  2

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Watson, W J (1904) Place names of Ross and Cromarty, Inverness

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.