Ancient Monuments

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Fosterlands, fort 500m north of

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.8408 / 55°50'26"N

Longitude: -2.276 / 2°16'33"W

OS Eastings: 382814

OS Northings: 660877

OS Grid: NT828608

Mapcode National: GBR D0KX.12

Mapcode Global: WH9Y1.0GH6

Entry Name: Fosterlands, fort 500m N of

Scheduled Date: 13 March 1991

Last Amended: 5 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4998

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Bunkle and Preston

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument comprises a hillfort likely to be Iron Age in origin (late centuries BC/early centuries AD). It survives as a broadly circular double ditch and bank sequence. The western half of the monument is visible as earthworks while the cropmarked eastern half is visible on oblique aerial photographs. The monument straddles a field boundary and lies under a mixture of pasture and cultivated land at about 200m above sea level at the SE end of the Lammermuirs, above the Merse. The monument was last scheduled on 13 March 1991 but the scheduling does not meet modern standards; the present rescheduling rectifies this.

This fort covers a roughly circular space 130m in diameter, its defensive works enclosing an inner space around 65m in diameter. The banks survive in places to just under 2m high. The ditches are generally infilled and very difficult to identify on the ground. In the NW arc, there appear to be the remains of a further outer bank but it does not noticeably continue around the rest of the monument. A break in the E side of the monument indicated in the aerial photographs suggests the position of the entrance. Features and deposits within the fort's interior can be seen but not identified accurately in current aerial photographs.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of a boundary post-and-wire fence running N-S through the approximate middle of the monument, to allow for its maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

This monument represents the well-preserved remains of an enclosed fortified settlement belonging to a group of monuments commonly known as hillforts. A significant proportion of its earthen construction is largely intact and its circuit is clearly visible in aerial photographs. The banks, ditches and interior are likely to preserve archaeological features and deposits that can help us understand what happened here. Dating and environmental evidence can help us build up a more accurate picture of when these monuments were in use and the wider environment affecting them. The monument therefore has the potential to reveal valuable information about the process and sequence of construction at these monuments and the life stories of those who inhabited them.

Contextual characteristics

This is one of a line of similarly fortified settlements that overlook the low-lying Merse from the S edge of the Lammermuirs. It is part of a Scotland-wide group of Iron-Age enclosures that appear to have been built on high ground with defence specifically in mind. In this case the site can easily be defended from the west because of its proximity to a deep topographical feature, the Fosterland Dean, and from the south because of its uninterrupted view across rolling land which falls down onto the Merse. The north is protected by a co-located enclosed settlement just 140m to the north and this feature adds to our interest here, although the precise chronological relationship between the two is not known. Their location marks a very distinctive landscape transition from the uplands in the north to the fertile lands of the Merse to the south. This fort and the line of forts to which it belongs to can tell us much about the extensive presence of Iron-Age communities in SE Scotland and their exploitation of its natural resources. It provides a very interesting contrast to the contemporary, enclosed settlements that survive as cropmarked remains along the water courses of the Merse.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular later prehistoric/early-historic defended (enclosed) settlement and the control and exploitation of the uplands of SE Scotland. The structural field remains including the defensive works and entrance survive to a marked degree and it is likely that significant buried deposits survive within the banks, ditch fills and internal occupation layers. It commands extensive views to the south, which archaeologists think is an important factor in its location. Combined with its neighbouring forts it marks out the importance of these types of locations. The loss of this monument would affect our ability to appreciate and understand the prehistoric landscapes (and contemporary occupation) of SE Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NT86SW 9 and Scottish Borders Council SMR as 1030022.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS 1978. BW 2321 Fosterland Burn.

RCAHMS 1988. B 16049 Fosterland Burn.

RCAHMS 1993. C 11402 Fosterland Burn.

RCAHMS 1978. BW 2321 Fosterland Burn.

RCAHMS 1978. BW 2321 Fosterland Burn.



RCAHMS (1980) THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF BERWICKSHIRE DISTRICT, BORDERS REGION, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland Series No. 10, 53, No. 466. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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