Ancient Monuments

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Drumfin Cottage, fort 540m SSW of

A Scheduled Monument in West Fife and Coastal Villages, Fife

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Latitude: 56.0593 / 56°3'33"N

Longitude: -3.5606 / 3°33'38"W

OS Eastings: 302917

OS Northings: 686257

OS Grid: NT029862

Mapcode National: GBR 1T.QB1D

Mapcode Global: WH5QQ.8YQR

Entry Name: Drumfin Cottage, fort 540m SSW of

Scheduled Date: 2 November 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM8545

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Torryburn

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: West Fife and Coastal Villages

Traditional County: Fife


The monument comprises the remains of a promontory fort likely to date to the late Bronze Age or Iron Age (sometime between 1000 BC and AD 500). The fort is visible as cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs. The monument occupies a truncated promontory at 20m above sea level, overlooking the north shore of the Firth of Forth.

The fort occupies a naturally defensive site which has been artificially reinforced with four concentric, crescent-shaped ditches and ramparts, visible at the northern end. The two innermost defences appear as broad ditches. Beyond these there are two narrower ditches, or possibly palisade slots, which are broadly but not exactly parallel with each other. These outermost defensive works both have a break towards their eastern ends, which probably marks the site of an entrance.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. It is bounded on its SE side by a post-and-wire fence demarcating the railway embankment. The land to the west is wooded and drops away to a stream, which flows north to south to join the Torry Burn: the western boundary of the scheduled area is defined by the eastern bank of this stream. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of all modern boundary features and transmission poles and lines to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics:

Despite the later transport intrusions (the railway and road to the south), and the remains of 19th-century mine workings to the north, a large section of the fort's substantial defensive works survives, as does part of its interior. The ditches are likely to contain significant buried deposits relating to the fort's construction, use and abandonment. The sequence of construction of the defences could only be confirmed by excavation, but it is possible (by analogy with comparable sites) that the innermost broader ditches represent a strengthening of the defences after an initial phase of enclosure. It is also possible that further defensive works may survive, but are not visible in the aerial photographs presently available. It is likely that the remains of internal structures or other features survive in the interior, again as demonstrated at comparable sites. The monument has the potential to help us understand the origins and developmental sequence of such defended sites, whether use and occupation was intermittent or continuous, and when and why they were abandoned.

Contextual characteristics:

Promontory forts are relatively uncommon in eastern central Scotland, although in general they are widely distributed across mainland Scotland. The distribution pattern is skewed by the nature of recent land-use and, indeed, it is surprising that this example has survived so well given the scale of later industrial and early modern disturbance. A closely comparable site, both geographically and in terms of monument type, is the fort and homestead at Lower Greenyards, Bannockburn. Partly excavated in the 1980s, this site appeared to have four main phases as it evolved from a palisaded homestead to a bivallate fort, multivallate fort and, finally, a univallate fort.

The fort at Drumfin occupies a prominent landscape setting and has good views across the Forth and further south. It also lies within 500m of an intriguing setting of four standing stones to the north, known as the Tuilyies stones. The northernmost stone, which stands slightly apart from the others and is 2.2m high, has 54 cupmarks concentrated on its lower E face. The remaining three smaller stones are set in a triangle and the westernmost has seven cups on one face. The presence of this stone setting demonstrates that the landscape in the immediate vicinity of the fort had been in use before, as well as after, the period of use of the fort.

Associative characteristics

The fort is sometimes known as Tuilyies Fort because it lies immediately east of Tuilyies Park.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the study of later prehistoric settlement and economy. The substantial ditches are likely to preserve significant artefactual and ecofactual remains, while the fort interior is likely to contain important structural remains and other evidence of settlement and activities here. This can help us understand not only the architectural preferences of the time, but something of the social structures and domestic and defensive architecture of the late Bronze Age and Iron Age.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NT08NW 45. A transcription of aerial photographs was undertaken by RCAHMS in 1991.


The following aerial photographs (archived with RCAHMS) were used:

B24169 taken in 1989

B24170 taken in 1989

B24171 taken in 1989

B24172 taken in 1989

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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