Ancient Monuments

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Mains of Edzell, enclosure 170m NNW of

A Scheduled Monument in Brechin and Edzell, Angus

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Latitude: 56.8125 / 56°48'45"N

Longitude: -2.6755 / 2°40'31"W

OS Eastings: 358854

OS Northings: 769206

OS Grid: NO588692

Mapcode National: GBR WW.ST33

Mapcode Global: WH7PX.W138

Entry Name: Mains of Edzell, enclosure 170m NNW of

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1996

Last Amended: 8 July 2015

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6573

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Edzell

County: Angus

Electoral Ward: Brechin and Edzell

Traditional County: Angus


The monument is an enclosure (or fort) bounded by three ditches, dating probably to the late Bronze Age or Iron Age (between about 1000 BC and AD 500). The archaeological remains lie buried beneath the topsoil, but the triple ditches around the NE side of the monument are visible as cropmarks captured on oblique aerial photographs. The monument lies about 85m above sea level and occupies the top of a low hill. The land falls away quite steeply to the SW towards the West Water, which lies some 600m from the enclosure. The monument was first scheduled in 1996, but the documents did not meet modern standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

Overall, the enclosure ditches cover an area measuring about 105m E-W by 75m N-S. The interior within the circuit of the inner ditch measures about 40m across, though the extent of the inner ditch has not been established on the W side. The ditches are generally 2-3m wide and spaced at intervals of 8-10m. Limited trial excavations have assisted in clarifying the line of the middle and outer ditches to the S and W, where the monument is not in arable cultivation. Trial excavations have also demonstrated that a palisade trench lies about 10m inside the line of the inner ditch on the N side of the enclosure, apparently located behind a series of entrances through the three enclosure ditches. The excavation also revealed a series of pits and postholes in the interior of the enclosure that are not visible on aerial photographs.

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 excludes a small sand quarry located to the S of the scheduled area, and the above-ground elements of a post-and-wire fence that crosses the scheduled area.

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 later prehistoric enclosures and settlement patterns in E Scotland. The monument is rare in its regional context as an example of a multivallate enclosure and represents an important component of the prehistoric landscape. Complex enclosures such as this have traditionally been categorised as 'forts' and regarded as standing at the apex of the settlement hierarchy. This monument has the potential to support research to gain a better understanding of the functions of this type of site and its relationship with unenclosed settlements and single-ditched enclosures in the wider landscape. Our understanding of the distribution and character of prehistoric enclosures and settlements would be diminished if this monument was to be lost or damaged.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Other Information

RCAHMS records the monument as NO56NE 26. The Angus Sites and Monuments Record reference is NO56NE0026.


RCAHMS Aerial Photographs AN2849, AN4801.

Strachan, RJ et al, 2003 'Excavation of cropmark enclosures in Angus at Mains of Edzell, Edzell and Hawkhill, Lunan', TAFAJ 9, 34-64.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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