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Milton of Tordarroch, fort 800m south of

A Scheduled Monument in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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Latitude: 57.3582 / 57°21'29"N

Longitude: -4.2183 / 4°13'5"W

OS Eastings: 266651

OS Northings: 831917

OS Grid: NH666319

Mapcode National: GBR H9Y8.QHG

Mapcode Global: WH4H2.5BK0

Entry Name: Milton of Tordarroch, fort 800m S of

Scheduled Date: 29 August 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11550

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Daviot and Dunlichity

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument comprises a fort of prehistoric date, visible as fragments of walls and a revetment on a rocky, steep-sided outcrop projecting from the NE flank of Creag Bhuide, at a height of approximately 275m above sea level.

The remains of the defensive wall of the fort enclose an oval area measuring 38m from E to W by 17.5m transversely. The coursed rubble wall is approximately 2.7m in thickness and up to 1.5m in height. For much of the circuit the wall was placed to take advantage of sheer rock faces and outcrops. Much of the wall is more in the character of a revetment with a sloping build and one or two massive boulders are built into the footings. The N section of the wall of the site is the most complete, with the E and W parts now consisting mainly of tumble. On the S side a length of the wall is still visible for 22m. The interior is very uneven and dissected by two natural gullies. It is covered by heather and bracken with patches of grass and bare stone. A hut circle, represented by a stony ring-bank 0.5m high, is evident within the southern part of the interior. Access to the fort is from a gulley to the N. This is overlooked by an area of bare rock flanked by near-vertical cliffs, which could have served as an outer ward of the fort. Two shieling huts, probably post-medieval in date, have been built up against the enclosure wall in the NW quarter.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the visible remains of the fort and an area around in which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: The form and size of the monument suggests it represents the remains of a small fort, probably of Iron Age date. It is defended by single stone rampart crowning a rocky outcrop, commanding extensive views NE over the fort's hinterland in Strathnairn. Despite much of the rampart having tumbled downslope, sufficient remains to accurately define the course of the defences and archaeological deposits relating to the defensive circuit and settlement within the interior will almost certainly be preserved. With regard to the latter, the area of the hut circle would be of particular interest. It therefore has the potential to reveal valuable information about local variations in domestic architecture and building use, as well as the character of late prehistoric fortifications.

Contextual characteristics: As the remains of a small fortified settlement, the monument has the potential to reveal much about house building and domestic life as well as the character of fortifications in the later prehistoric communities of NE Scotland. It can be compared and contrasted to other small forts in elevated locations along Strathnairn, such as Caisteal an Dunriachaidh on Ashie Moor, and to the many others occurring all over the Highland zone of Scotland to create an understanding of regional identity and society. The monument complements the other types of prehistoric settlement sites identified close by in Strathnairn, to provide a fuller picture of prehistoric landscape and society in the region over time.

The inhabitants of forts lived in round, thatched timber (sometimes also stone) houses. The smaller forts, such as this, would have accommodated only one or two round houses. The hut circle identified within the fort at Milton of Tordarroch may have been the only dwelling.

Forts were built at various times from at least the end of the Late Bronze Age (around 800 BC) until probably the end of the early medieval period (around. 1000 AD). Stratigraphic sequences from other forts in eastern Scotland suggest that the largest defensive enclosures are of relatively early date and that forts became progressively smaller in the course of the 1st millennium BC. If there is any relationship between the size of fortifications and their social or political significance, power appears to have been focussed in the hands of progressively smaller groups of people. The fort at Milton of Tordarroch would probably have been the stronghold of a relatively small group, who held sway over the good agricultural land overlooked by the fort.

National Importance: This monument is of national importance because it is represents good surviving evidence of a late prehistoric fortified settlement, an important element in the fragmented picture of prehistoric settlement in Strathnairn that has come down to us. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of fortifications, vernacular architecture, landuse and society in this locality and, by association, the rest of Scotland in the later prehistoric period. The loss of this site in this area would affect our future ability to appreciate and understand the prehistoric landscape and its inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NH63SE 33; Highland Council SMR as NH63SE0033.


Meldrum E 1976, 'Daviot and Dunlichity, Carn Bheithen, fort', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT 1976, 37.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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