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Latitude: 56.1593 / 56°9'33"N
Longitude: -3.8483 / 3°50'54"W
OS Eastings: 285299
OS Northings: 697828
OS Grid: NS852978
Mapcode National: GBR 1G.HZ9Y
Mapcode Global: WH4P1.VGM2
Entry Name: Dun, 680m SW from summit of Myreton Hill
Scheduled Date: 16 November 2022
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Source ID: SM13758
Schedule Class: Cultural
Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun
Electoral Ward: Clackmannanshire West
Traditional County: Clackmannanshire
The monument comprises of a dun, a type of fortified settlement dating from the Iron Age (800 BC – AD 400) to Early Medieval Period (AD 400 –1000). The monument is located on a rocky outcrop on Myreton Hill, Clackmannanshire, at approximately 260m above sea level, overlooking the Forth Valley to the south.
The monument consists of a dun, a large round house constructed of drystone walls with associated terraced enclosures defined by stone walls. The round house measures 14m in diameter with a possible entrance to the southeast. To the north is the first of three terraces which descend the outcrop. This oval terrace measures 15m east-west by 18m north-south and is enclosed by a wall a maximum of 2m thick. The second terrace measures 20m east-west by 9m north-south. Both terraces are enclosed by a stone wall a maximum of 2m wide which survives as footings. The third terrace has the footings of a building with two compartments built against the enclosure wall of the second terrace. It measures 15m east-west by 5m north-south with an entrance in the east. In addition, there are three field boundaries with lynchets - ridges of soil that form along a field boundary due to ploughing. These run approximately north to south towards the forestry track and measure from east to west measure 34m, 17m, and 55m in length. There are also remains of features likely dating to the medieval or post medieval period or later; the first and second terrace each contain a small square drystone feature and at the base of the outcrop, to the southeast are the tumbled remains of a drystone building.
The scheduled area is irregular. It includes the remains described above and an area around 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 scheduled area extends up to but does not include the forestry track.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17):
a. The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past as a dun dating from the Iron Age (800 BC – AD 400) to Early Medieval Period (AD 400 – 1000).
b. The monument retains structural, architectural and other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past including a drystone round house, terraces with enclosing walls, a building with two compartments and field boundaries with 'lynchets.'
c. The monument is a rare example of a dun with surviving evidence of contemporary agricultural practices in the form of field boundaries with lynchets.
d. The monument is a particularly good example of a dun and is therefore an important representative of this monument type.
e. The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular, stratified archaeological deposits are likely to survive which can provide material for environmental analysis, radiocarbon dating and optically stimulated luminescence profiling and dating. Stone, metal and ceramic artefacts may also survive which can tell us above the lifestyle, wider society and economy of the inhabitants.
f. The monument makes a significant contribution to today's landscape as it is located in a prominent position overlooking the Forth Valley. It contributes to our understanding of the Iron Age (800 BC – AD 400) to Early Medieval (AD 400 – 1000) landscape in relation to changing settlement patterns and land use. There is the potential to study the monument in relation to broadly contemporary and intervisible monuments in the area to help us establish their relationship.
Assessment of Cultural Significance
This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:
Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)
The monument is a good example of a dun with rare evidence of field boundaries with lynchets dating from the Iron Age (800 BC – AD 400) to Early Medieval Period (AD 400 - 1000). Duns are large round houses constructed of drystone walls. The monument shares characteristics of other duns; it is circular to oval in plan, located in upland areas and has additional external features, in this case enclosures bounded by drystone walls which may also have comprised part of its defences. The three earth banks which run approximately north to south from the direction of the monument towards the forestry track have been interpreted as a rare survival of lynchets - ridges of soil that form along a field boundary due to ploughing - that may be contemporary with the occupation of the dun.
Due to its drystone construction and characteristic plan the dun has been broadly dated to the late Iron Age/early medieval period, which is supported by dating evidence from comparable sites. Excavations at the dun at Castlehill Wood, (scheduled monument SM177) Stirlingshire, discovered Roman glass and as such is believed to date to 1st – 2nd Century AD. Material recovered through excavation at Balure dun, Argyll and Bute (Canmore ID 154317) was radiocarbon dated to 200BC – AD80. Finds included iron and stone tools, beads, pottery, quern fragments, spindle whorls and processed grains (Regan 2016). Excavation of High Milton, dun 230m NE of (scheduled monument SM4814) Dumfries And Galloway, recovered material that was radiocarbon dated to 41BC – AD80. Finds included cereals, animal bone and a copper alloy knife hilt (Cavers and Humble 2020, 59 - 62).
There is the potential for the field boundaries associated with the monument to be a rare survival of Iron Age to Early Medieval agriculture. Similar sites, such as the Iron Age fort and settlement at Southdean Law in the Scottish Borders (scheduled monument SM2211) also have associated field boundaries. Optically stimulated luminescence profiling and dating has established the prehistoric origins and subsequent development of lynchets along field boundaries at Bosigran, Cornwall (Vervust et al. 2020). The application of this technique to the terraces and field boundaries at the monument could greatly increase our understanding of how they developed over time.
There is the potential for the survival of stratified archaeological deposits at the monument which can provide material for environmental analysis, radiocarbon dating and, optically stimulated luminescence profiling and dating. This can help us to closely date the monument and build a chronology of its development over time. Artefacts are also likely to survive. These can tell us about the everyday domestic life of the inhabitants as well as wider society and economy, for example trade and agriculture. These can also help us to better understand the use of and relationship between different parts of the monument.
Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)
The monument is prominently located on a rocky outcrop on Myreton Hill, Clackmannanshire, overlooking the Forth Valley and the River Forth to the south and the First Inchna Burn to the north. During prehistory the area around the River Forth would have been bog and flood plain and the monument would have had a clear view over its crossing points. The monument is approached from the north along a gradual rising slope. To the south is a steep drop which would have contributed to the monuments defence.
Duns are a common monument type and are widespread across Scotland. The National Record of the Historic Environment records over 1700 examples entries for duns. Due to its meaning of 'fort' in Scots Gaelic the word 'dun' appears in the name of many similar settlement types such as brochs; hillforts and enclosed settlements.
The monument is the only recorded dun in Clackmannanshire but it is part of a wider group of broadly contemporary monuments within the Forth Valley which exploit areas of high ground. In particular, Castle Law, fort 400m SW of summit of Dumyat (scheduled monument SM2182; 2km west-southwest); Abbey Craig, fort (scheduled monument SM2542; 5km southwest) radiocarbon dated to AD 500 – 930 (Cook 2018, 195-196); Mote Hill (Canmore ID 46206; 7km southwest) radiocarbon dated to AD 68 – 217, are all intervisible from the monument (Cook et al. 2016, 151).
There is the potential to study the monument in relation to other Iron Age and Early Medieval settlements on a local and national scale. This could help us to better understand any interrelationship and the significance of their placing within the landscape, in particular in relation to society, land use, the exploitation of natural landforms such as promontories and changing settlement patterns.
Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)
There are no known associative characteristics which contribute to this monument's national importance.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 47097 (accessed on: 19/07/2022).
Cavers, G. and Humble, J. (2020) 'Excavations at an Iron Age dun at High Milton, Craigoch, Rhins of Galloway.' In Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, Volume 94, p. 51 – 65. (Available at: https://www.academia.edu/82801371) (Accessed on: 27/09/2022).
Cook, M. Watson, F. Cook, G. (2016) Burning Questions: New Insights into Vitrified Forts. In pp. 149 – 157. In, Erskine, G., P. Jacobsson, P. Miller, and S. Stetkiewicz (eds.). Proceedings of the 17th Iron Age Student Research Symposium, Edinburgh 2014. Oxford: Archaeopress Publishing Limited. (Available at: https://www.academia.edu/26089574)(Accessed on: 15/09/2022).
Cook, M. (2018) 'Abbey Craig, Stirling, Evaluation.' In Milburn, P Discovery Excavation in Scotland, vol. 19, 2018. P195 – 6. Wiltshire: Cathedral Communications Limited. (Available at: https://www.archaeologyscotland.org.uk/about-us/publications/discovery-and-excavation-in-scotland-des/) (Accessed on: 14/09/2022).
Regan, R. (2016) 'Case Study 8: Balure Dun Excavation.' In Regional Archaeological Research Framework for Argyll. Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF). (Available at: https://scarf.scot/regional/rarfa/) (Accessed on:15/09/2022).
Vervust, S. et al. (2020). 'Optically stimulated luminescence profiling and dating of earthworks: the creation and development of prehistoric field boundaries at Bosigran, Cornwall.' In Antiquity, vol 94 Issue 374 pp. 420 – 436. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (available at: https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2019.138) (accessed on: 20/07/2022).
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
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