Ancient Monuments

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Wester Craiglockhart Hill, fort

A Scheduled Monument in Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart, City of Edinburgh

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Latitude: 55.9176 / 55°55'3"N

Longitude: -3.2364 / 3°14'11"W

OS Eastings: 322819

OS Northings: 670082

OS Grid: NT228700

Mapcode National: GBR 8CV.X5

Mapcode Global: WH6SS.8J2B

Entry Name: Wester Craiglockhart Hill, fort

Scheduled Date: 28 June 1972

Last Amended: 17 January 2001

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3193

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Edinburgh

County: City of Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart

Traditional County: Midlothian


The monument comprises a fort of prehistoric date. The monument was first scheduled in 1972, but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains: the present scheduling rectifies this.

The monument lies on the summit of Wester Craiglockhart Hill, at around 175m OD, on an elongated, narrow ridge which falls away sharply to the N and S. The fort measures up to 50m from W-E, by 18m N-S. Its most visible feature today is a defensive rock-cut ditch, at least 2.5m wide, which crosses the ridge cutting off access to the hilltop from the W. The fort itself is defined by a stone wall enclosing an area of about 27m by 18m along the ridge. The entrance approach was probably from the E where the land slopes away more gently. A small knoll with a level surface immediately to the NE is likely also to have preserved remains of occupation or other activities.

Small-scale excavations of the fort in 1971 showed that the enclosing wall was about 2.5m wide and that its outer face survives to a height of about 0.7m. Within the interior, at least two phases of activity were discerned. The earlier phase comprised midden material mixed with rubble from the enclosure wall, indicating an episode of abandonment or destruction. Later paving and a hearth indicated that the site was re-occupied shortly afterwards. The site is comparatively rich in finds, particularly sherds of coarse pottery and burnt and unburnt animal bones, as well as fragments of Roman glass, a piece of samian ware and a round bead of Antrim bauxite, indicative of occupation at least in the 1st or 2nd century AD. A unique bronze spiral armlet has also been recovered from the hilltop, reportedly from a kitchen midden. Forts of this general type are characteristic of the Iron Age.

The interior of the fort has been disturbed by the construction of two circular, ditched-and-banked gun emplacements of uncertain date: one immediately E of the rock-cut ditch, and another in the area of the fort entrance to the E. A third gun emplacement occurs further to the E.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found. It is irregular in plan and has maximum dimensions of 165m SW-NE by 90m NW-SE, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to our understanding of prehistoric defended settlement and economy.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is RCAHMS number NT 27 SW 34.


RCAHMS 'Inventory of Midlothian', p.xxvii, fig. 12.

Maxwell, G. S. (1970) Discovery Excav Scot, 32.

Maxwell, G. S. (1971) Discovery Excav Scot, 28-9.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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