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Latitude: 56.2624 / 56°15'44"N
Longitude: -3.884 / 3°53'2"W
OS Eastings: 283397
OS Northings: 709367
OS Grid: NN833093
Mapcode National: GBR 1F.9HD7
Mapcode Global: WH4NG.9VQJ
Entry Name: Fort, Grinnan Hill
Scheduled Date: 7 July 1972
Last Amended: 28 March 2022
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Source ID: SM3088
Schedule Class: Cultural
Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill and promontory fort)
County: Perth and Kinross
Electoral Ward: Strathallan
Traditional County: Perthshire
The monument is a fort dating from the Bronze Age (2200-800BC) to Iron Age (800BC-400AD). It is D-shaped in plan with two lines of defence defined by banks or 'ramparts' and ditches. The fort occupies an area of higher ground on Grinnan Hill above the Keir Burn.
The fort measures approximately 95m northwest-southeast by 85m northeast-southwest with two lines of defence visible as concentric banks and ditches to the north and east. There is a possible entrance to the east. The outer bank and ditch survives in two stretches. The ditch is around 2m wide. To the north the outer bank is 40m long, 8m wide and 1.5m high; to the east it is 25m long, 4.5m wide and 0.7m high. The inner bank and ditch also survives in two stretches; the ditch is between 6 and 8m wide. To the north the outer bank is 40m long, 8.5m wide and 2m high; to the east it is 28m long, 8m wide and 1.5m high.
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. Exclusions include all above ground elements of boundary walls and fences.
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 or appreciation of the past as a fort dating from the Bronze Age (2200-800BC) to the Iron Age (800BC-400AD). It adds to our understanding of prehistoric society and the function, use, development and abandonment of forts at this time in Perth and Kinross and eastern Scotland more widely.
b. The monument retains structural and other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past. The plan of the monument is clear and understandable. Excavation of similar sites have shown that there are likely to be surviving buried archaeological deposits. The monument can significantly add to our understanding of domestic settlement, agriculture and economy during the Bronze Age and/or Iron Age.
d. The monument is a particularly good example of an upstanding D-shaped fort, with multiple lines of defence. There is the potential for multiple periods of occupation and reoccupation from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. It is therefore an important representative example of this monument type.
e. The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding of the past. Ditches from similar monuments have provided material for radiocarbon dating. Such dates can be compared with similar monuments, contributing to a better understanding of the chronological development of settlement during this period of Scottish prehistory. Additionally, environmental material has the potential to survive within buried features which could also provide information on diet, agricultural practice and local ecology.
f. The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the prehistoric landscape by providing evidence of land use; settlement patterns; chronological development and the human impact on the local environment over time. The close proximity of the Roman road and military complex at Ardoch also provide the opportunity to study potential contact, trade or conflict with the Roman Empire.
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 is a fort dating from the Bronze Age (2200-800BC) to Iron Age (800BC-400AD). It is D-shaped in plan with two visible lines of defence defined by concentric banks and ditches to the north and east. There is a possible entrance to the east. Early depictions of the fort show a small fragment of bank and ditch to the north, now no longer visible, and a steep access route along the south side of Grinnan Hill (Roy 1793; Christison 1900). This suggests the fort may have had a third line of defence and a possible second entrance to the south-southeast. D-shaped forts often incorporate topographical features into their defences, backing onto breaks of slope, escarpments and/or drops to water courses.
Excavations of a similar monument in Perth and Kinross (Fort, 320m NW of Kinkell Grange, scheduled monument SM7729) obtained radiocarbon dates of 1220-1380BC and 200-300BC showing the fort to be in use during the Bronze Age and Iron Age. Dun Knock (scheduled monument SM9434), again in Perth and Kinross, has also shown prolonged periods of occupation or reoccupation. Finds included pottery, metal working debris including a crucible and stone tools, an oil shale bangle and saddle querns (Poller 2008, 2015). Further afield in East Lothian excavations at the later Iron Age fort at Whittinghame (Whittinghame Tower, enclosure 250m SW of, scheduled monument SM6067) have provided evidence of crops such as hulled barley, oats, emmer wheat and artefacts such as a copper and blue enamel stud, stone tools, decorated stone, a saddle quern and pottery (Haselgrove et al. 2009).
The monument retains structural and physical attributes such as banks and ditches likely to contain stratified layers of archaeological deposits, that can significantly add to our understanding of domestic settlement, agriculture and economy during the Bronze and Iron Age. There is good potential for the survival of occupation and abandonment debris, artefacts and environmental remains such as charcoal, which can be used for radiocarbon dating, or pollen. This monument has the potential to add to our understanding of settlement, land-use and environment, diet, and social status of the occupants, as well as the structure of contemporary society and economy. It has the potential to provide information about the function and date of the features and their relationship to each other. Study of the monument's form and construction techniques compared with other enclosures would also enhance our understanding of the development sequence of this site.
Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)
The monument encloses an area of flat ground on Grinnan Hill with a steep drop to the east to the Keir Burn. This position would have provided the fort with ample natural defences. The fort also occupies a strategic position in the landscape overlooking the River Knaik, 300m to the east and to the south, Strathallan and the Allan Water.
The Camelon - Ardoch - Strageath - Cargill Roman Road (Canmore ID 25225; 530m east) and Ardoch, Roman military complex 900m NNE of Ardoch Bridge (scheduled monument SM1601) are located within a kilometre of this monument. The Roman road may have exploited an earlier prehistoric route overlooked and controlled by the fort at Grinnan Hill. Further study of the fort alongside these Roman sites could help establish if there was contemporary occupation of Grinnan Hill and the nature of any contact, trade or conflict with the Roman Empire.
Forts and enclosed settlements are found throughout Scotland, however, this monument is a particularly good example of an upstanding D-shaped fort. In Perth and Kinross there are at least six other scheduled examples of such forts. These include Fort, 320m NW of Kinkell Grange (scheduled monument SM7729); Fort, 80m SE of 65 Lumsden Crescent, Almondbank (scheduled monument SM2641); Cecilmount, fort 250m SSW of (scheduled monument SM7584); Logierait, fort, souterrains, roundhouses, pits and enclosure (scheduled monument SM9525); Thorn, fort 70m NE of (scheduled monument SM9367) and Craigmill Cottage, fort 230m SSE of, (scheduled monument SM7731).
There is potential to study these sites together to better understand their functions within local prehistoric communities, settlement hierarchy and land use. The monument also contributes to our understanding of the wider prehistoric landscape by providing evidence of settlement patterns such as distribution and size of individual settlements; possible chronological development and the extent of human impact on the local environment over time.
Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)
There are no known associative characteristics that contribute to the site's national importance.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 25262 (accessed on 12/01/2022).
Local Authority HER/SMR Reference MPK698 (accessed on 12/01/2022).
Barclay, G.B and Tolan, M. (1990) Trial excavation of a terrace-edge enclosure at North Mains, Strathallan, Perthshire. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 120, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh, pp.45-53. (accessed on 12/01/2022) [Available at: http://journals.socantscot.org/index.php/psas/issue/view/252].
Christison, D. (1900) The forts, "camps", and other field-works of Perth, Forfar and Kincardine. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 34, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh, pp. 43-120 (accessed on 19/01/2022) [Available at: http://journals.socantscot.org/index.php/psas/article/view/6763].
Haselgrove et al. (2009) The Traprain Law Environs Project, Fieldwork and Excavations 2000-2004. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh.
Locke, G. and Ralston I. (2017) Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland (accessed on 20/01/2022) [Available at: https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk/].
Poller, T. (2008) Dunknock Hillfort Excavations 2008. Data Structure Report: University of Glasgow (accessed on 12/01/2022) [Available at: https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/humanities/research/archaeologyresearch/currentresearch/serf/reportarchive/].
Poller, T. (2015b) Dun Knock Excavations 2015 Unpublished SERF Report: University of Glasgow (accessed on 12/01/2022) [Available at: https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/humanities/research/archaeologyresearch/currentresearch/serf/reportarchive/].
Roy, W. (1793) Plan and sections of some posts near Lindum at Ardoch in Military Antiquities of the Romans in North Britain. National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh. (accessed on 20/01/2022) [Available at: https://maps.nls.uk/roy/antiquities/].
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
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