Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC4212: Comar Wood  

(Strath Glass)

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

HER:  Highland HER MHG55867

NMR:  NH 33 SW (314324)

SM:  

NGR:  NH 3250 3100

X:  232509  Y:  831008  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

A dun is situated within a larger enclosure on a hillock forming the summit of a minor spur above the steep hillside dropping down to the NW bank of the River Glass SW of Cannich. Survey and invasive evaluation of the dun has shown that it is oval on plan, initially measuring about 18m by 15m within a wall about 2.2m in thickness, and that it underwent a complex history of occupation, with two phases of burning and reconstruction in which the wall was increased in thickness to a maximum of 4.4m. Two successive central hearths were recorded in the interior and the entrance incorporated a substantial timber structure and lies on the W, facing towards the entrance into the larger enclosure, which measures about 50m from NW to SE by 45m transversely (0.2ha) within a wall largely reduced to a stony bank 2m to 3m thick. Radiocarbon dates place the first burning event in the 4th to 3rd centuries BC; the second occurred in the 1st to 3rd centuries AD, though the date of the outer wall and its relationship to the central dun remain unknown.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Unconfirmed:  Conventionally an outwork to the central dun, but is certainly not a concentric enclosure

Location

X:  -532613  Y:  7829684  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -4.784542  Latitude:  57.3388  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Highland

Historic County:   Inverness-shire

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Kilmorack

Condition

Extant:  
Cropmark:  
Likely Destroyed:  

Land Use

Recently taken out of coniferous forest cover

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:  150.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

The radiocarbon dates provide a chronology for the building and destruction of the central dun, but not the surrounding enclosure, whose relationship to the dun remains unknown

Reliability:  C - Low

Pre 1200BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
400BC - AD50:  
AD50 - AD400:  
AD400 - AD 800:  
Post AD800:  
Unknown:  

Pre Hillfort Activity:  ✗  

Post Hillfort Activity:  ✓  Three later rectangular buildings have been inserted into the interior

C14:  Ten dates from a range of contexts

Investigations

1st Identified Written Reference (1943):  Angus Graham noted that they could not find the fort said to be in the wood (RCAHMS Emegency Surveys)
Earthwork Survey (2010):  Plan and description (Ritchie, Taylor and Duff 2010)
Earthwork Survey (2013):  (Peteranna, Birch and Fraser 2014, 11, fig 4)
Excavation (2013):  Evaluation (Peteranna, Birch and Fraser 2014)

Interior Features

Featureless apart from the central dun and the three later rectangular buildings

Water Source

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

Surface

Later buildings

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

Small assemblage of lithics, fragments of two rotary quernstones, several hammerstones and a possible whetstone, a piece of pumice and bronze sheeting; there was also fired clay waste, iron slag and wrought iron waste.

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

Aerial

Still 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 (West):  Simple Gap:  Through the enclosure wall, with some kind of check on one side

Enclosing Works

Dun within a larger enclosure

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

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✓  Excludes the dun wall

Number of Ramparts:  1

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts NW Quadrant:  1

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

Pieces of vitrifaction were recovered from inside the dun

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

Birch, S (2014) 'Kilmorack, Comar Wood Dun, Evaluation and survey'. Disc Exc Scot, New Ser, 14 (2013), 109

Birch, S, Fraser, L and Peteranna, M (2014) Comar Wood Dun Archaeological Evaluation and Measured Survey Cannich, Strathglass, Scotland: Data Structure Report. Unpublished report held by Highland HER

Peteranna, M, Birch, S and Fraser, L (2014) Comar Wood Dun Archaeological Evaluation and Measured Survey Cannich, Strathglass, Scotland: Final Report. Unpublished report held by Highland HER

Ritchie, M, Taylor, B and Duff, B (2010) 'Comar Wood, Highland (Kilmorack parish), survey'. Disc Exc Scot, New Ser, 11 (2010), 97

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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