Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Ironshill, settlement 240m WSW of Balnabrechan Lodge

A Scheduled Monument in Arbroath East and Lunan, Angus

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Latitude: 56.6435 / 56°38'36"N

Longitude: -2.5272 / 2°31'38"W

OS Eastings: 367763

OS Northings: 750306

OS Grid: NO677503

Mapcode National: GBR VW.QK1Q

Mapcode Global: WH8RX.48TW

Entry Name: Ironshill, settlement 240m WSW of Balnabrechan Lodge

Scheduled Date: 9 May 1994

Last Amended: 16 January 2015

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5981

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse

Location: Inverkeilor

County: Angus

Electoral Ward: Arbroath East and Lunan

Traditional County: Angus


The monument is the remains of a multi-period later prehistoric settlement dating to between 1800 BC and AD 400. The settlement remains lie buried beneath the ploughsoil. They are visible as cropmarks captured on oblique aerial photographs and have been partly revealed by archaeological excavation. The monument lies at about 25m above sea level on a broad spur of higher ground extending NE from Ironshill Farm to the S of the Lunan Water.

The settlement comprises two large roundhouses and a variety of other prehistoric features. One roundhouse lies towards the E of the scheduled area and is represented by two circles of postholes, the outer circle measuring about 17m in diameter. It is set within a circular palisade enclosing an area 45m in diameter. Trial excavation has demonstrated that a souterrain lies 30m to the NNW of the enclosure and the ring grooves of other houses lie to the SE. The cropmark evidence shows a rectilinear post-setting 60m to the S of the enclosure and a second large roundhouse 95m to the WNW, defined by a penannular gully bounded by a ring groove about 17m in diameter. Numerous other cropmarks in the same field probably represent associated structures and pits.

The scheduled area 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 is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of a post-and-wire fence that crosses the scheduled area from NNW to SSE. The monument was first scheduled in 1994, but the documentation did not meet modern standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to knowledge and understanding of prehistoric rural settlement in Scotland. It preserves a rare combination of later prehistoric building types, including a souterrain and enclosed and unenclosed structures. It is also part of a cluster of later prehistoric sites around Ironshill and Newbarns that represents one of the most important in eastern Scotland. This gives the monument rich potential to contribute to study of the relationships between enclosed and unenclosed settlements and the changing character of prehistoric settlement over time. Our understanding of the distribution and character of later prehistoric settlements would be diminished if this monument was to be lost or damaged.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Other Information

RCAHMS records the monument as NO65SE 20, 21, 28. The Angus Sites and Monuments Record reference is NO65SE0020.

RCAHMS Aerial Photographs AN3531, AN3532.


McGill, C, 2003 'The excavation of a palisaded enclosure and associated structures at Ironshill East, near Inverkeilor, Angus', Tayside and Fife Arch Jour 9, 14-33.

Pollock, D, 1997 'The excavation of Iron Age buildings at Ironshill, Inverkeilor, Angus', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 127, 339-358.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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