Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC3625: Henderland Hill  

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HER:  Scottish Borders 50030

NMR:  NT 14 NW 8 (50030)

SM:  2840

NGR:  NT 1496 4597

X:  314960  Y:  645970  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

This fort is situated on the N spur of Henderland Hill, at the top of a steep slope dropping away to the NW, and from the road at Mountain Cross the defences cut a striking profile on the skyline. Oval on plan, it measures about 67m from NE to SW by 43m transversely (0.22ha) within twin ramparts with external ditches. These defences are amongst the most impressive in the whole district, particularly approached across the level ground from the SW, for while the inner rampart rises little more than 0.6m above the interior, its crest stands up to 3.6m above the bottom of the inner ditch; the outer rampart and ditch here are of comparable stature and the counterscarp of the latter is still 1.6m deep. Elsewhere the outer ditch has suffered from later cultivation, entirely disappearing on the E, but though the RCAHMS investigators who drew up a plan in 1959 were uncertain whether it had ever continued around the steep NW flank, more recent oblique aerial photography has revealed traces of its course. The entrance is on the NE and was adapted for secondary use when a scooped settlement was inserted into the NE end of the interior. Two more crescentic scarps indicate the platforms of timber round-houses immediately outside the settlement on the SW, where there are also two small ring-ditch houses tucked into what appears to be a quarry scoop to the rear of the inner rampart.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✓  ACFA

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed

Location

X:  -373437  Y:  7498873  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -3.354642  Latitude:  55.699739  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Scottish Borders

Historic County:   Peeblesshire

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Newlands

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:  319.0m

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, though the overlying scooped settlement suggest that they belong in the pre-Roman Iron Age

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 scooped settlement of probable late Iron Age or Roman Iron Age date.

None:  No details.

Investigations

Photographed by CUCAP in 1969, and RCAHMS Aerial Survey Programme in 1980, 1981, 1991, 2006 and 2009.

1st Identified Written Reference (1726):  Almost certainly Cow-Throple, noted by Alexander Gordon (1726, 115)
1st Identified Map Depiction (1775):  Concentric ring symbol on Mostyn Armstrong's map of The County of Peebles or Tweedale (1775)
Other (1856):  Annotated Fort on the 1st edition OS 25-inch map (Peebles 1859, sheet 8.10)
Other (1863):  Description by William Chambers (1864, 30, 34-5)
Earthwork Survey (1886):  Sketch-plan and description by David Christison (1887, 34-7, figs 21-2)
Earthwork Survey (1959):  Plan and description (RCAHMS 1967, 122, no.287, fig 104; RCAHMS PBD 113/1-2)
Other (1964):  Visited by the OS
Other (1969):  Scheduled
Other (1975):  Visited by the OS

Interior Features

The backs of four platforms and two ring-ditch -houses are visible. Twoof the platforms lie within the scooped settlement that occupies the NE half of the interior

Water Source

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

Surface

Ring-ditch houses

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

And the scooped settlement

APs Not Checked:  
None:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Other:  

Entrances

See main summary

Total Number of Breaks Through Ramparts:  2:  A gap in the outer rampart in the sector where the outer ditch has been ploughed out

Number of Possible Original Entrances:   

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Entrance 1 (Northeast):  Simple Gap

Enclosing Works

Twin ramparts with external ditches

Enclosed Area 1:  0.22ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.2ha.

Total Footprint Area:  0.77ha.

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✓  The inner ramaprt is overlain by the perimeter of the scooped settlement

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:  2

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Chambers, W (1864) A History of Peeblesshire. William and Robert Chambers: Edinburgh and London

Christison, D (1887) 'The prehistoric forts of Peeblesshire'. Proc Soc Antiq Scot 21 (1886-7), 13-82

Gordon, A (1726) Itinerarium Septentrionale: or A Journey Thro most of the Counties of Scotland And Those in the North of England. London

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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