Ancient Monuments

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Fort, 95m WNW of Raecleugh Head

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.7693 / 55°46'9"N

Longitude: -2.4077 / 2°24'27"W

OS Eastings: 374517

OS Northings: 652955

OS Grid: NT745529

Mapcode National: GBR C1MQ.JQ

Mapcode Global: WH8X6.Z8M1

Entry Name: Fort, 95m WNW of Raecleugh Head

Scheduled Date: 10 November 1988

Last Amended: 5 April 2022

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4580

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Langton

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Mid Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument comprises a prehistoric fort of the Late Bronze Age or Iron Age (around 1200BC to 500AD) which occupies a hillock at around 230m above sea level, immediately northwest of Raecleugh Head farm steading.

The fort is bounded by a dry ravine called Guile Howe on its northeast and northwest sides with gently sloping ground to the southeast and southwest. Its defences have been reduced by agricultural activities but survive as a low lip around the northern perimeter with a steep scarp up to 5m high dropping down to a terrace cut into the steep slopes of Guile Howe. A small section of defences survives on the southern arc of the perimeter and is visible on aerial imagery. The eastern corner of the fort had been mostly destroyed through the encroachment of a farm steading. The interior of the fort is an elongated oval measuring 105m northeast to southwest by at least 45m transversely and is featureless. There is no clear entrance which suggests it was located to the south where the approach is a gentle slope.

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 scheduled area extends up to, but excludes the modern fence line and gates on its southern side.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

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 fort dating to the Iron Age. In particular, it adds to our understanding of Iron Age society in southern Scotland and the function, use and development of forts and other defended sites. 

b.   The monument retains structural and other physical attributes which makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the past. The defences of the fort are visible on aerial imagery as a low bank on the north and part of the southern side. Although the interior has been levelled by agricultural activities, excavations on similar sites have shown that there is significant potential for the survival of burial archaeological deposits. The monument can significantly add to our understanding of domestic settlement, society, agriculture and economy during the Iron Age. 

e.   The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding of the past. It can tell us about the character, development and use of forts, and the nature of Iron Age society, economy and social hierarchy in southern Scotland and further afield. 

f.   The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the historic landscape by its association with a wider cluster of later prehistoric sites. It also contributes to our understanding of how topography was exploited when siting and constructing forts. 

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 is a prehistoric fort which survives as earthworks and buried archaeological deposits. Although the upstanding defences of the fort have been reduced through ploughing, it is recorded in the late 19th  century (Christison 1895) that a rampart survived on the north-east and north-west sides. The remains of the rampart, although now slight, are visible on the ground and in aerial imagery. A broad terrace survives cut into the side of the slope below the northern side of the monument. It has been suggested that the feature may be a trackway leading to the entrance or a heavily modified ditch associate with the rampart. On the southwestern side there is a notable lip or raised area which is probably the most southerly extent of the rampart and which may have had a ditch beyond. What would have been the eastern arc of the rampart has been destroyed through the encroachment of the farm steading.

Excavations of similar monuments elsewhere (such as Broxmouth, East Lothian (Canmore ID 58800), St Germain's, East Lothian (Canmore ID 54998), Jackschairs Wood (scheduled monument SM1597; Canmore ID 26551) and Dun Knock (scheduled monument SM9434; Canmore ID 26688), Perth and Kinross) demonstrate that such forts were built and used between around 800 BC and 400 AD. They represent defended settlements that could have accommodated an extended family or small community.

There good potential for the survival of archaeological features and deposits, including occupation and abandonment debris, artefacts and environmental remains such as charcoal or pollen within the monument. It has the potential to add to our understanding of settlement, land-use and environment during the Iron Age. It has the potential to provide information about the economy, diet and social status of the occupants, as well as the structure of contemporary society and economy. Study of the monument's form and construction techniques compared with other forts would enhance our understanding of the development sequence of this site and of Iron Age forts in general.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

Forts and defended settlements are found throughout Scotland. The example at Raecleugh Head is of particular significance because it is one of three forts located on the slopes of Raecleugh Head Hill. This monument and Fort, 255m NW of Raecleugh Head (scheduled monument SM377) and Raecleugh Head Hill, fort (scheduled monument SM378) are all located within 500m of each other. This is an unusual concentration of such monuments and study of the three monuments together has the potential to better understand their functions within the local communities, settlement hierarchy and possible chronological development in the area.

The fort occupies a prominent landscape position on a hillock on the southern slopes of Raecleugh Head Hill. It is positioned above the dry gully known as Guile Howe but is overlooked by the neighbouring fort to the north. The monument has extensive views southwards across the Merse toward the Cheviot Hills. To the north is Raecleugh Head Hill, which is an outlier of the Lammermuir Hills. Study of this monument in the wider landscape has the potential to enhance and broaden our understanding of prehistoric society and community as well as social organisation, land division and land use 

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)

There are no know associative characteristics that contribute to this monument's national importance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 58710 (accessed on 18/01/2022).

Alexander, D and Watkins T (1999). St Germains, Tranent, East Lothian: the excavation of Early Bronze Age remains and Iron Age enclosed and unenclosed settlements in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Vol. 128, pp. 203-254. Accessed online at View of St Germains, Tranent, East Lothian: the excavation of Early Bronze Age remains and Iron Age enclosed and unenclosed settlements (

Armit I and McKenzie J (2013). An Inherited Place; Broxmouth Hillfort and the South-East Scotland Iron Age. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Christison, D (1895). The Forts of Selkirk, the Gala Water, the Southern Slopes of the Lammermoors, and the North of Roxburgh in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Vol. 29, pp. 108-179. Accessed online at View of The Forts of Selkirk, the Gala Water, the Southern Slopes of the Lammermoors, and the North of Roxburgh (

Haselgrove C (2009). The Traprain Law Environs Project; Fieldwork and Excavations 2000-2004. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Lelong, O and McGregor, (2007). The Lands of Ancient Lothian, Interpreting the Archaeology of the A1. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

RCAHMS (1915). The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Sixth report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Berwick. Edinburgh. Pp. 103-4.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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