Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC3178: Craigluscar  

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NMR:  NT 09 SE 1 (49667)

SM:  803

NGR:  NT 0598 9094

X:  305980  Y:  690940  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

A small fortification is situated on the crest of the Castle Craigs above Craigluscar. Roughly oval on plan, it measures 51m from E to W by 34m transversely (0.12ha) within a belt of stone faced ramparts, which seems to terminate on the cliff-edge on both the SE and the W. On the N, where there are three, the belt is some 17.5m deep, but only two are clearly visible to either side of the entrance on the E, and it is uncertain whether the outer rampart continued round to the cliff-edge on the SE. The only feature visible within the interior is the footing of a square hut, which is probably associated with the shielings that have been recorded in the vicinity. There is no evidence to suggest that the three ramparts are not all part of a single defensive scheme, but a section cut in 1944-5 across the defences on the N by A H A Hogg revealed that each was of rather different character (1951, 167-8). Whereas the innermost was a well built rubble-cored wall 3.5m thick, with its outer face still standing 0.6m high, the middle rampart appears to have been constructed in two stages, with double rows of facing on either side and a core of yellow clay; the outermost was no more than a mound of rubble with a possible kerb. The general absence of fallen stone led Hogg to suggest that the ramparts were never very high, but there is extensive evidence of stone-robbing elsewhere on the circuit. Hogg also cleared the entrance. That in the middle rampart was a simple gap some 1.8m wide, and a single post-hole was found on the line of its S side a little way to the rear. The gap through the inner rampart was 2.7m wide, but a setting of four post-holes within the passage reduced the width to 1.8m, and a layer of charcoal lay on the slightly hollowed surface of the rock between them. The charcoal layer, and a deposit of burnt soil above it, which did not penetrate below some upright slabs leaning against the sides of the passage, was interpreted by Hogg as the remains of a covered bridge structure, but the presence of these upright slabs suggests that the history of this gateway may have been rather more complex. The only finds from the excavation were a broken shale ring from beneath the core of the middle rampart and a rough stone disc from the burnt earth in the gateway.

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 fort.

Location

X:  -391078  Y:  7578747  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -3.513117  Latitude:  56.101997  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Fife

Historic County:   Fife

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Dunfermline

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:  210.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

Excavations recovered part of a shale ring and a small stone disc (Hogg 1951), but these are of no assistance in providing 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:  ✓  Heavy robbing

None:  No details.

Investigations

Also photographed by RCAHMS Aerial Survey Programme in 1981 and 1993

1st Identified Map Depiction (1854):  Annotated 'Supposed Site of a Fort' on the 1st edition OS 6-inch map (Fife 1856, sheet 34)
Earthwork Survey (1925):  Plan and description (RCAHMS 1933, 127-7, no.207, fig 262; RCAHMS FID 25/1-2)
Other (1939):  Scheduled
Earthwork Survey (1945):  Plan by A H A Hogg (1951, 166, fig 5)
Excavation (1945):  Excavations on the defences by A H A Hogg (1951)
Other (1951):  Visited during RCAHMS Survey of Marginal Lands (Feachem 1963, 124)
1st Identified Map Depiction (1961):  Surveyed at 1:2500 by the OS
Earthwork Survey (1988):  Of the fort and shielings in the vicinity by Edinburgh University (Archive and drawing held by RCAHMS)
Other (1991):  Description by RCAHMS

Interior Features

Featureless apart from a small square hut

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

Concentrated on the defences (Hogg 1951)

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

A piece of a shale ring and a stone disc were found

No Known Finds:  
Pottery:  
Metal:  
Metalworking:  
Human Bones:  
Animal Bones:  
Lithics:  
Environmental:  
Other:  

Aerial

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 (East):  Simple Gap:  Excavated by A H A Hogg (1951)

Enclosing Works

Three ramparts resting at either end on the cliff-edge

Enclosed Area 1:  0.12ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.1ha.

Total Footprint Area:  0.37ha.

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✗  

Number of Ramparts:  3

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

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

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

Hogg, A H A (1951) 'The defences of Craigluscar Fort'. Proc Soc Antiq Scot 85 (1950-1), 165-70

RCAHMS (1933) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Eleventh report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the counties of Fife, Kinross, and Clackmannan. 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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