Ancient Monuments

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Black Hill, fort

A Scheduled Monument in Leaderdale and Melrose, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.625 / 55°37'30"N

Longitude: -2.6594 / 2°39'33"W

OS Eastings: 358572

OS Northings: 637024

OS Grid: NT585370

Mapcode National: GBR 93WD.1F

Mapcode Global: WH8XP.3WW5

Entry Name: Black Hill, fort

Scheduled Date: 2 February 1988

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4463

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Earlston

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Leaderdale and Melrose

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument is a fort of the Iron Age occupying the summit of Black Hill. The fort is complex, its defences showing at least three phases of construction. The first phase appears to have been the occupation of the summit plateau only by what may be a palisaded settlement with an entrance to the SW. At a later date two ramparts were built running round the S, E, and NE of the site. To the NE there is a third rampart associated with this phase and an entrance through all three lines of defence.

At a later date the fort has been extended; this phase is defended by a single rampart which runs from a point on the earlier outer rampart to the NE, around the N, W, and S sides to fade out to the SE. A possible fourth phase is shown by a low bank and terrace enclosing an area smaller than the other phases, at the NE end of the site. Within the area enclosed by the outermost rampart are at least twenty circular house platforms. The fort measures c. 210m (NE-SW) x c. 125m transversely overall.

The area to be proposed for scheduling includes all the phases of the fort and an area around it in which traces of activity associated with its use will survive. The area respects the shape of the monument and measures 265m (NE-SW) x 160m transversely.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it is a well-preserved example of a multi-period fort which has the potential to enhance considerably our understanding not only of the development of defences in Iron Age forts but also of Iron Age settlement and economy. Its importance is increased by the proximity of a number of sites of similar date which together have the potential to greatly increase our understanding of the settlement, economy and development of the landscape in the Iron Age in this area.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NT 53 NE 5.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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