Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC3937: Kirktonhill  

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HER:  Scottish Borders 54598

NMR:  NT 45 SE 3 (54598)

SM:  4628

NGR:  NT 4704 5434

X:  347040  Y:  654340  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

This fort is situated on the sloping crest of the hill to the NW of Kirktonhill, where its SW spur drops down towards the Raughy Burn. The defences have been heavily degraded, partly through later agriculture, which has virtually obliterated them along the flanks, but also by the corner of a shelter belt planted over the E sector, while one later enclosure bank extends obliquely along the NW side, and another, at one time thought to be the perimeter of a Roman temporary camp (see Jones 2011, 171-2), traverses the NE end; several stone quarries have also been dug into the interior and a pentagonal turf-banked agricultural enclosure occupies the SW end. Usually described as oval on plan, this is partly the result of the degradation along its flanks, and aerial photographs and satellite imagery suggest that the line of the twin ramparts with a massive medial ditch visible on the NE swings rather wider down the E flank to create a deep re-entrant in a natural hollow on the S, which almost certainly marks the position of a major entrance, albeit that the details of its design are lost. Three ramparts, largely reduced to terraces, can also be traced round the SW end, set at the point where the underlying slope accelerates into the burn gully. Thus defined, the interior measures about 135m from NE to SW by up to 85m transversely, an area of about 0.82ha. Crossing its NE end, however, there are also traces of two or three low banks, which denote the presence of another defensive scheme taking in a smaller area, perhaps oval and extending to 0.55ha, though neither its full extent nor its precise relationship to the larger fort can be traced out by survey. On the E however, it is almost certainly overlain by a circular enclosure some 18m in internal diameter, which forms a shallow scoop on the E side of the interior and probably represents a late Iron Age settlement overlying the fort.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed

Location

X:  -316806  Y:  7514646  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -2.845918  Latitude:  55.779507  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Scottish Borders

Historic County:   Berwickshire

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Channelkirk

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:  327.0m

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 modern 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:  ✓  Probably overlain by a late Iron Age settlement enclosure and heaviiy degraded by agriculture, tree-planting and quarrying

None:  No details.

Investigations

Photographed by CUCAP in 1974, 1977 and 1981, and RCAHMS Aerial Survey Programme in 1981, 1995, 1996 and 1998

Earthwork Survey (1769):  Depicted as a redoubt forming part of the Channelkirk Roman Temporary Camp (Roy 1793, pl vi)
Other (1853):  Annotated Camp on the 1st edition OS 25-inch map (Berwick 1854, sheet 13.6)
Other (1894):  Description by David Christison, but apparently relying on James Wilson and the OS map (Christison 1895, 128-)
Excavation (1897):  Archibald Allan and James Wilson cut a section (Allan 1900, 645, 647-50)
Other (1908):  Description (RCAHMS 1909, 6, no.26)
Earthwork Survey (1912):  Plan by James Hewat Craw (RCAHMS 1915, 12, no.27, fig 9; RCAHMS BWD 18/1/2)
Excavation (1922):  By James Hewat Craw on linear boundary within the fort (324-5, 1930)
Other (1975):  Visited by the OS
Other (1989):  Scheduled

Interior Features

Cultivation across the interior has obscured any traces of house platforms, but a shallow circular scoop on the E is almost certainly an overlying late Iron Age settlement enclosure

Water Source

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

Surface

Circular enclosure scooped into the slope on the E

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

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:  Large sectors have been levelled on both flanks

Number of Possible Original Entrances:   

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Entrance 1 (South):  Other Forms:  forms a deep re-entrant, but all detail has been lost to ploughing

Enclosing Works

Almost certainly two separate defensive schemes, a larger circuit with twin ramparts and a medial ditch, and a smaller circuit with up to three ramparts, probably with intermediate ditches.

Enclosed Area 1:  0.82ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  0.55ha.
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.8ha.

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✓  The intersections of the two schemes have been ploughed down, but must formerly have been visible. The extent of the inner scheme can only be roughly estimated at 0.55ha.

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✗  The principal visible circuit of the larger fort is elaborated below, but there are traces of other ramparts and ditches in the NE end of the interior.

Number of Ramparts:  3

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  2
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  3
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:  At least two ditches are present, and probably more in view of the two circuits identifiable

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Allan, A (1900) History of Channelkirk. James Thin: Edinburgh

Craw, J H (1930) 'The Roman Camp at Channelkirk, Berwickshire'. Proc Soc Antiq Scot 64 (1929-30), 321-36

Jones, R H. (2011) Roman Camps in Scotland. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland: Edinburgh

RCAHMS (1909) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. First report and Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the County of Berwick. HMSO: Edinburgh.

RCAHMS (1915) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Sixth report and Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the County of Berwick (Revised Issue). HMSO: Edinburgh

Roy, W (1793) The Military Antiquities of the Romans in Britain. Society of Antiquaries of London: London

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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