Ancient Monuments

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Hill of Newleslie, hillfort, 400m north of Cotetown

A Scheduled Monument in West Garioch, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.318 / 57°19'4"N

Longitude: -2.6945 / 2°41'40"W

OS Eastings: 358267

OS Northings: 825481

OS Grid: NJ582254

Mapcode National: GBR M9QC.SD7

Mapcode Global: WH7MD.LB39

Entry Name: Hill of Newleslie, hillfort, 400m N of Cotetown

Scheduled Date: 18 October 2006

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11510

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive)

Location: Leslie (Aberdeenshire)

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: West Garioch

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a defended hilltop enclosure of prehistoric date, visible as cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs and as field remains. It is situated at the summit of the Hill of Newleslie, 270m above sea level, and lies 400m N of the farmstead of Cotetown.

The monument consists of an oval enclosure measuring 375m E-W by 170m transversely. Defined by a bank and internal ditch with a second external bank intermittently visible, it encloses over 4ha, making it one of the largest defended enclosures in the region. The internal bank and ditch are traceable on the aerial photographs and are visible on the ground on the N and SW sides of the enclosure. The bank and ditch are most clear to the E of the northern side of the enclosure. Here the bank measures up to 0.5m and the ditch is 0.3m in depth. This ditch was possibly excavated through bedrock on the eastern side. However, it is also possible that this is a natural outcrop that has been used intentionally to form the edge of the enclosure. The external bank is only visible on the NE and SE side of the enclosure. Any upstanding remains on the SW side of the enclosure have been removed by ploughing and re-seeding in recent years. There is no visible entrance.

Hill top enclosures of this type are characteristic of the Iron Age. There is still much debate over their use, but it could conceiveably be a defended settlement. However, the size of the enclosure and its unusual shape could be indicative of some sort of animal enclosure or trading centre, such as a market place.

The area to be scheduled is an oval that includes the remains described and an area around them within which evidence related to their construction and use may be found, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. Any part of the existing above-ground fencing is excluded from scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument's historical significance can be expressed under two headings:

Intrinsic characteristics: the monument is unexcavated and is one of the largest hilltop enclosures in the region. Therefore it has considerable potential to enhance understanding of the use and nature of defended hilltop settlements and enclosures in NE Scotland, particularly Strathdon.

Contextual characteristics: as one of the largest hilltop enclosures in the region, the site is a rare example and adds great value to its type and class of monument. It lies within a rich prehistoric landscape and is situated to the SW of other defended prehistoric hilltops (the Hill of Dunnideer hillfort, 4km to the NE, and the hill-top enclosure on the Hill of Newleslie, 2.75km to the NE). This setting is integral to the understanding of the monument in its landscape.

National Importance: this monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of defended hilltop enclosures and settlements of the prehistoric period in NE Scotland. The loss or damage of this monument would significantly diminish the capacity of the class to contribute to our understanding of prehistoric Scotland, as well as the surrounding landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ52NE 31 and by the Aberdeenshire Council SMR as NJ52NE0038.

Aerial photographs:

AAS, 2000, NJ52NE0038, Hill of Newleslie, AAS/00/02/G3/2.

AAS, 1996, NJ52NE0038, Hill of Newleslie, AAS/96/01/G2/8.

AAS, 2000, NJ52NE31, Hill of Newleslie, E94475PO.

AAS, 1998, NJ52NE31, Hill of Newleslie, D35951.


Watt W 1983, 'Hill of New Leslie (Leslie Parish): hill fort', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT, 10-11.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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