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Latitude: 56.1208 / 56°7'14"N
Longitude: -4.1046 / 4°6'16"W
OS Eastings: 269257
OS Northings: 693999
OS Grid: NS692939
Mapcode National: GBR 15.L7W8
Mapcode Global: WH4P3.XFM2
Entry Name: Broch, rock shelter and cup marked rocks, 165m W of Leckie House
Scheduled Date: 29 December 1971
Last Amended: 2 May 2022
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Source ID: SM3099
Schedule Class: Cultural
Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: broch; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cupmarks or cup-and-ring
Electoral Ward: Forth and Endrick
Traditional County: Stirlingshire
The monument comprises a broch and rock shelter dating to the Iron Age (800BC-400AD) and cup marked rocks dating from the Neolithic (4100 BC – 2500 BC) to Bronze Age (2500 BC – 800 BC). The monument is located on a sandstone promontory above St Colm's Glen.
The broch is roughly circular drystone building measuring approximately 21m northwest-southeast by 20m within a wall 6m thick and with an entrance on the east side. Inside , a doorway in the northeast wall leads to a small room or "cell" on one side and the remains of a stairway to the upper floors on the other side. An attempt was made to convert the broch into a promontory fort prior to its abandonment; this can be seen in a straightening of the broch wall to the south. On the west side of the promontory is a rock shelter which predates the broch and on the north end of the promontory are three cup marked rocks with cup, grove, ring and square motifs.
The scheduled area is irregular. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The above ground elements of all modern post and wire fencing are specifically excluded from the scheduled area to allow for their maintenance.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17):
a. The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the past as a broch with multiple phases of occupation and rock shelter dating to the Iron Age (800BC - 400AD) and cup marked rocks dating from the Neolithic (4100 BC – 2500 BC) to Bronze Age (2500 BC – 800 BC).
b. The monument retains structural, architectural and other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past; in particular the monument is still understandable as a broch retaining much of its original plan and features. Archaeological excavation has shown the broch to have had complex phasing; with evidence surviving of its construction, reuse, destruction and abandonment.
c. The monument is a rare example of a rock shelter in use during the Iron Age (800BC - 400AD) and a broch which was in use during three periods of Roman invasion and occupation of Scotland [Governor Agricola (c.AD79-84) and Emperors Antoninus Pius. (c.AD139-142) and Septimius Severus (c. AD 208-211)]. Roman finds relating to all these periods have been found on this monument and there is rare evidence to suggest that Roman aggression may have caused the destruction of the broch tower.
d. The monument is a particularly good example of a lowland broch with multiple phases of occupation and is therefore an important representative of this monument type.
e. The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past. Excavation has identified well stratified archaeological deposits with a good potential for surviving artefacts and environmental remains suitable for scientific analysis and radiocarbon dating. Scientific investigation of the cup marked rocks could provide information about when and how they were created.
f. The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the prehistoric landscape. It occupies a strategic position overlooking one of the only routeways east-west; a comparative study of the broch with similar monuments on a local and national scale could help us to better understand the reasons behind their distribution; changing settlement patterns and land use.
Assessment of Cultural Significance
This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:
Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)
The monument comprises a broch and rock shelter dating to the Iron Age (800BC-400AD) and a cup marked rocks dating from the Neolithic (4100 BC – 2500 BC) to Bronze Age (2500 BC – 800 BC).
Cup marked rocks are the earliest evidence for human activity at the monument. This form of abstract prehistoric art was created by striking the rock repeatedly with a stone tool to create shapes and symbols known as 'motifs' (Barnett et al. 2021, 13, 32). At the monument these range from small shallow to large deep cups, grove, square and 'rosette' motifs (Canmore ID 370761). These are located close to the broch wall on the north of the promontory and may have played a role in the selection of this site for the broch. Excavation has shown that cup marked rocks could be repeatedly returned to and associated with quartz and stone tools which can tell us more about how and why they were created.
On the west side of the promontory is a rock shelter, created by a natural overhang in the cliff. Excavation found this site to have been occupied, most likely, in the Iron Age, in particular between 299BC-100BC (Mackie 2016, 32-35). This shows that the promontory was a focus of activity in the Iron Age prior to the first Roman invasion of Scotland. In addition to the use of the rock shelter, excavations showed that a timber round house about 6m in diameter, originally occupied the site of the broch. This roundhouse has been radiocarbon dated to the period between AD 10–150.
Brochs are large round drystone towers with an internal timber structure and associated external buildings, structures and earthwork defences. This example provides evidence of a particular complex development sequence which is of significance. Construction and first occupation of the broch was around AD50-80. There is evidence that the timber interiors of the broch were remodelled and hearths replaced overtime. Around AD142 the broch was destroyed by fire and the walls reduced to a height of 2m. The discovery of a crossbow bolt and large cracked granite rock likely used as a heated missile, suggests that the broch was subject to a deliberate attack by the Roman army. Around AD160 the broch was converted to a large stone roundhouse. In approximately AD200 an attempt was made to turn the site into a promontory fort. This fort was never completed and evidence suggests that parts were deliberately dismantled, perhaps due to Roman intervention. The broch was abandoned shortly after this. (Mackie 2016, 25, 34-35, 74)
A wide range of native and Roman artefacts were discovered at the broch including a carbonized wooden bowl; fragments of a Roman bronze bowl and mirror and the largest quantity of lead found at any broch in Scotland. Environmental remains such as burnt grains and charcoal have also been discovered. (Mackie 2016, 12-13, 80, 90-92; 116; 117).
The broch, rock shelter and area around the cup marked rocks are likely to contain archaeological deposits from which samples can be gathered for environmental analysis and radiocarbon dating. Detailed study of the rock shelter, broch can tell us how the site developed over an extended period of time, in particular, their occupation and construction, use, reuse, repair and abandonment. A broad range of artefacts have also been shown to survive and these have the potential to tell us about the social status and lifestyle of the inhabitants, including dress, diet, metal working; the local economy, as well as trade, contact and conflict with the Roman Empire.
Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)
The monument is situated on a sandstone promontory above St Colm's Glen with steep drops on three sides created by the Easter Blackspout to the east; the Leckie Burn to the west, and their convergence to the north. To the south flat ground meets a sharp rise before the ground steadily rises into the uplands.
The broch would have held a prominent position with natural defences and access to fresh water, along with extensive views of the surrounding landscape. During the period that the broch was in use, the land to the north was an extensive bog on side of the River Forth. The narrow strip of higher ground between the broch and the bog would have been suitable for agriculture and one of the only practical routes east-west. The broch may have been located to have control over this route. The rock shelter and timber round house show that this site was occupied prior to the brochs construction. Rock shelters which have been securely dated to the Iron Age are a rare monument type in Scotland. Other prehistoric settlements in the area including Keir Hill of Gargunnock (Canmore ID 46294; 1.4km ENE) are also situated in higher ground.
Brochs are a widespread class of monument found across northern Scotland with notable concentrations in Caithness, Sutherland, Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and the northwest Highlands. Brochs occur less frequently in central and southern Scotland. The monument is part of this group of lowland brochs. Building such structures would have taken a significant amount of time and resource and as such they may have been the residences of an elite group within Iron Age societies with space to house members of an extended family, or perhaps shelter members of the wider community when required. Their use and function within society may also have changed overtime. This example has a particular complex development sequence of construction, destruction, repair, adaption and abandonment.
The broch was in use during three periods of Roman invasion and occupation of Scotland [Governor Agricola (c.AD79-84) and Emperors Antoninus Pius. (c.AD139-142) and Septimius Severus (c. AD 208-211)]. Roman finds relating to all these periods have been found on this monument and there is rare evidence to suggest that Roman aggression may have caused the destruction of the broch tower. Comparisons can be drawn with Castle Craig, fort SSW of Pairney (scheduled monument SM4213) where archaeological excavation recovered a bronze Roman patera and Roman glass. This monument was also destroyed by fire sometime between 0-200AD and subsequently reused.
Cup marked rocks are mostly found on areas of exposed bedrock and they can be found close to or incorporated within much later monument types, such as brochs. For example at Dun Mor a' Chaolais, broch, Tiree (scheduled monument SM6906) and Torwood or Tappoch, Broch, Falkirk (scheduled monument SM1738). The latter has a cup and ring marked rock built into the staircase entrance. Torwood also overlooks a major routeway in the form of Tor Wood, Roman road (scheduled monument SM2217).
There is the potential to study the monument in relation to other prehistoric settlements and sites of cup marked rocks on a local and national scale. This could help us to better understand their interrelationship and the significance of their placing within the landscape, in particular in relation to our understanding of Iron Age society, land use, the exploitation of natural landforms such as promontories and rock shelters and changing settlement patterns.
Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)
There are no known associative characteristics.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 45379 (accessed on 31/01/2022).
Local Authority HER/SMR Reference 656.01 (accessed on 31/01/2022).
Local Authority HER/SMR Reference 656.02 (accessed on 31/01/2022).
Local Authority HER/SMR Reference 656.03 (accessed on 31/01/2022).
Barnett, T. et al. (2021) Prehistoric Rock Art in Scotland – Archaeology Meaning and Engagement. Historic Environment Scotland. Available at (https://www.rockart.scot/resources/downloads/) Accessed on (24/02/2022).
MacKie, E. (2016) Brochs and the Empire – The Impact of Rome on Iron Age Scotland as seen in the Leckie Broch Excavations. Oxford; Holywell Press.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
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