Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC3551: Oliver Castle  

(Nether Oliver Dod)

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

HER:  Scottish Borders 48510

NMR:  NT 02 NE 1 (48510)

SM:  3144

NGR:  NT 0995 2506

X:  309950  Y:  625060  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

The heavily disturbed remains of a fort are visible in a small plantation that clothes a hillock that juts out from the hillside to the N of Oliver. Traditionally identified as the site of Oliver Castle (see RCAHMS 1967, 262-3, no.521), it appears to have been the site of a fermtoun before being planted with trees in the 19th century, but two ramparts can be discerned, both reduced to stony banks, the inner of which encloses a roughly circular area measuring about 65m in diameter (0.34ha). The outer rampart can be traced in an arc around the more vulnerable N flank, but it is uncertain whether it ever formed a complete circuit. There are several gaps in the circuit, notably on the NE and WNW, but without excavation it is impossible to determine whether either was an original entrance. Apart from the scoops and foundations of the later fermtoun that sprawl across the interior and the defences, there is a row three possible platforms for round-houses immediately to the rear of the inner rampart on the E.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed

Location

X:  -381547  Y:  7461681  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -3.427491  Latitude:  55.511007  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Scottish Borders

Historic County:   Peeblesshire

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Tweedsmuir

Condition

Extant:  
Cropmark:  
Likely Destroyed:  

Land Use

Plantation since the 19th century

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:  297.0m

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:  ✓  Overlain by a post medieval fermtoun

None:  No details.

Investigations

Traditionally the site of Oliver Castle, the history of which is documented with references in RCAHMS 1967, 262-3, no.521.

1st Identified Map Depiction (1856):  Named in Gothic type on the 1st edition OS 6-inch map (Peeblesshire 1859, sheet 19)
Earthwork Survey (1960):  Plan and description (RCAHMS 1967, 137, no.310, fig 125; RCAHMS PBD 133/1-5)
Other (1971):  Scheduled
Other (1974):  Surveyed at 1:10,560 by the OS

Interior Features

Three backs of three platforms can be seen on the E side of the interior, but otherwise the visible features are all rectangular buildings and probable yards belonging to the fermtoun

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

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 (Northeast):  Simple Gap:  Perhaps the most likely candidate for an original entrance
Entrance 2 (West):  Simple Gap

Enclosing Works

Two ramparts

Enclosed Area 1:  0.34ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.3ha.

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✓  

Number of Ramparts:  2

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  2
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  1
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:  ✗  

References

RCAHMS (1967) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Peeblesshire: an inventory of the ancient monuments, 2v. 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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