Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Dillyhill, enclosure 510m WNW of

A Scheduled Monument in Inverurie and District, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.2894 / 57°17'21"N

Longitude: -2.4259 / 2°25'33"W

OS Eastings: 374427

OS Northings: 822171

OS Grid: NJ744221

Mapcode National: GBR X6.B93V

Mapcode Global: WH8NV.Q10N

Entry Name: Dillyhill, enclosure 510m WNW of

Scheduled Date: 4 March 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12195

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive); Prehistoric ritual and funera

Location: Inverurie

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Inverurie and District

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a prehistoric circular enclosure with a concentric internal feature. Visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs, it survives as a very slight earthwork. It lies in low-lying, unimproved grassland at the bottom of a gentle E-facing slope at around 120m above sea level and 5km north of the confluence of the rivers Urie and Don.

The monument is broadly circular in shape and measures approximately 45m at its widest external diameter. It comprises a roughly circular ditch, in places 8m wide, with a causeway or possible entrance in its SE quadrant; no evidence is visible for a bank created from the fill of the ditch. Aerial photographs show an inner, narrower, circular feature, which is roughly concentric to the ditch, and this includes a bulbous feature orientated towards the south-east also, but offset from the break in the outer ditch. Early aerial photographs suggest a possible second entrance in the NW.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the cropmark, to include the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found, as shown in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

This is a well-preserved, cropmarked example of a prehistoric circular enclosure that retains several structural components such as an outer penannular ditch and an inner, modified ring feature. These features are likely to seal archaeological deposits relating to the construction and use of the enclosure and can therefore help us to better understand the site's function. A ceremonial or more domestic function (such as a settlement with a large roundhouse) are both plausible explanations and, in either case, the monument's size and completeness indicates its potential to further our understanding of prehistoric occupation and activity.

Contextual characteristics

This monument belongs to a large and widespread group of enclosure monuments that populate Scotland wherever prehistoric communities settled, farmed and engaged in ceremony. As well as individual features, the wider setting and context of these monuments can help us to understand their purpose and significance. In this case, the monument is surrounded by a wider landscape of early prehistoric burial, ceremonial and domestic monuments like the recumbent stone circle at East Aquhorthies to the south-west and the henge and avenue complex at Broomend of Crichie to the south-east. The site's location on low-lying ground close to the confluence of two watercourses might suggest that the outer enclosure functioned as a henge.

The inner feature is more likely to be a later prehistoric domestic building that includes a possible porch-type structure. This feature leads us to believe that the monument is probably a later prehistoric settlement. The monument is therefore an important link in understanding the wider, relatively dense concentration of prehistoric activity in Central Strathdon and a key element of the prehistoric character of NE Scotland.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the nature of early settlement and activity in NE Scotland and the cultural links between this and similar sites across the country during prehistory. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the development of the communities that settled, worked and socialised here.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ72SW 48.



RCAHMS 2007, IN THE SHADOW OF BENNACHIE: THE FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY OF DONSIDE, ABERDEENSHIRE, TheRoyal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Wainwright G J 1969, 'A review of henge monuments in the light of recent research', PROC PREHIST SOC, NEW 35, 1969, 130.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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