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Blackford Hill, fort and settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Morningside, City of Edinburgh

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.923 / 55°55'22"N

Longitude: -3.1947 / 3°11'40"W

OS Eastings: 325438

OS Northings: 670639

OS Grid: NT254706

Mapcode National: GBR 8NS.C7

Mapcode Global: WH6SS.WDW5

Entry Name: Blackford Hill, fort and settlement

Scheduled Date: 25 October 1993

Last Amended: 6 March 1997

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5818

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill and promontory fort)

Location: Edinburgh

County: City of Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Morningside

Traditional County: Midlothian

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a hillfort and external settlement of later prehistoric date surviving as a series of earthworks on the summit of Blackford Hill.

The fort occupies the highest point on Blackford Hill at around 160m OD, commanding extensive views over the surrounding area. The site is naturally defined by precipitous slopes and crags around all but the E side. To the E is a level area of ground occupied by rig and furrow cultivation, probably dating from the post-medieval period.

The fort has been defined by at least two circuits of rampart, which are intermittently visible around the perimeter. These take advantage of the natural topography of the hill and have been most imposing on the E side where natural defence is weakest. The visible ramparts contain a significant proportion of stone and a number of large facing stones are visible, particularly on the N and NE of the circuit.

The ramparts have little surface relief and have a visible spread of up to 3m. There appears to have been an entrance on the E side. The interior of the fort measures approximately 70m E-W by 50m and is irregular, with numerous patches of exposed rock. There are however, several level areas where archaeological deposits may be expected to survive.

To the E of the fort, on an area of level ground, are the circular foundations of at least four houses. Two of these can be clearly seen, and measure about 8m in diameter, while the others are less obvious.

The previously scheduled area, which encompassed the fort and the best preserved house, is to be extended to the E to include the recently discovered houses. The extended area is irregular in shape with maximum dimensions of 170m E-W by 100m as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. The above-ground structures of the Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar, view indicator and wooden bench seat are excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to add to our understanding of later prehistoric domestic organisation and defensive construction. The ramparts will contain information for the nature and date of their construction while the interior of the fort may be expected to contain evidence for the nature and organisation of internal occupation. The site is also important as one of a group of forts on hills in and around what is now Edinburgh, with a potential for exploring the prehistoric significance of the area which later became the national capital.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NT 27 SE 90.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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