Craig Phadrig Hillfort, Inverness Archaeological .

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Craig Phadrig Hillfort, InvernessArchaeological EvaluationData Structure ReportAOC Project Number: 7001117th March 2015

AOC Archaeology Group 2015Craig Phadrig Hillfort, Inverness: Archaeological EvaluationData Structure ReportOn Behalf of:Forestry Commission ScotlandForest Enterprise Scotland Head Office1 Highlander WayInvernessIV2 &GBNational Grid Reference (NGR):NH 6400 4528AOC Project No:70011Prepared by:Mary Peteranna and Steven BirchIllustration by:Steven Birch, Mary PeterannaDate of Fieldwork:9-18 February 2015Date of Report:17 March 2015thThis document has been prepared in accordance with AOC standard operating procedures.Author: Mary PeterannaDate: 24/03/2015Approved by: Martin CookDate: 24/03/2015Enquiries to:AOC Archaeology GroupShore StreetCromartyRoss-shireIV11 8XLMob.E-mail07972 259 com

AOC Archaeology Group 2015ContentsPageAbstract .41 Introduction .51.1Project Background .51.2Site Location and Description .51.3Archaeological and Historical Background .72 Methodology .82.1Aims and Objectives .82.2Evaluation .83 Results .103.1Tree Exposures.103.2Evaluation Trench .124 Discussion .225 Conclusion .236 References .23List of figuresFigure 1: Location map. 6Figure 2: Location of the evaluation trench and tree exposures . 9Figure 3: Profile of the main rampart after initial excavation and removal of topsoil layers . 12Figure 4: Plan of the Craig Phadrig evaluation trench . 18Figure 5: NE section of the Craig Phadrig evaluation trench . 19Figure 6: SW section of the Craig Phadrig evaluation trench . 20Figure 7: Section drawing of the outer rampart wall face . 21Figure 8: Section drawing of the inner rampart wall face. 21Figure 9: Section drawing of the SE trench face, showing pit [028] . 21List of platesPlate 1: Looking SE across the hillfort interior showing the location of the tree erosions . 4Plate 2: Looking NW across theBeauly Firth from the southwest side of the site . 5Plate 3: Looking SW over the tree exposures after clean-back . 10Plate 4: Looking NE over the tree exposures after clean-back. 10Plate 5: Looking W over the tree exposures after clean-back . 11Plate 6: Looking SE over the NE exposure, showing the kerb [029] below the 2m scale pole . 11Plate 7: Looking N over the SW exposure showing the wall core of the upper bank. 11Plate 8: Looking NE over the rampart after initial excavation; showing the upper rampart banks, [009] and [008] .14Plate 9: The upper rampart banks [008] in front and [009] in back .15Plate 10: Looking SW over the upper rampart, showing the ditch [022] and the fill [007] mid-excavation. 14Plate 11: Boulder alignments within the core of the main rampart [021], looking SW . 14Plate 12: The possible palisade trench [022] visible in the NE trench section and stone fill of possible post-hole [018] 16Plate 13: The possible palisade trench [022] visible in the SW trench section and stone fill of possible post-hole [019] . 15Plate 14: SW section of the trench: post-hole [033] and the upper rampart bank [008]; facing SW . 15Plate 15: Post-excavation image showing the upper rampart banks and ditch in section; facing WNW . 16Plate 16: Looking SE over the exterior of the rampart mid-excavation, prior to identification of the outer wall .18Plate 17: Outer wall face [010], post-excavation, facing SE . 16

Craig Phadrig Hillfort (70011): Data Structure ReportPlate 18: Looking NW over the interior of the rampart showing the top of the inner wall, mid-excavation .19Plate 19: Inner wall face [013], post-excavation, facing NW. 17Plate 20: Looking SW over the rampart during excavation. 17Plate 21: Looking NE over the rampart after backfilling and consolidation of the tree exposures and evaluation trench . 24List of appendicesAppendix 1: List of ContextsAppendix 2: List of SamplesAppendix 3: List of Site PlansAppendix 4: List of Site Photographs AOC Archaeology 2008 PAGE 3 OF 36

Craig Phadrig Hillfort (70011): Data Structure ReportAbstractIn January 2015, severe winter storms causedsignificant damage to the Craig Phadrig hillfort aftertwo windblown trees exposed a section of the innerrampart of the fort. Prior to consolidation andreinstatement of the damaged area, a smallarchaeological evaluation was conducted on behalf ofForestry Commission Scotland in order to assess thelevel of damage and record the nature of survivingarchaeological deposits within the tree exposures.Clean-up of the exposures revealed that the tree rootplates had damaged the core of the upper rampartbank and the inner wall face of the main rampart. Theevaluation trench revealed that the main rampartconsisted of a 6.5m-wide wall with interior and exteriorbuilt faces supporting loose wall core. A ‘V’-shapedtrench, interpreted as a probable palisade slot, cutthrough the top of the rampart. An upper rubble bankbuilt next to the top of the ditch and possible postsettings on the rampart surface may representsecondary phases of use of the rampart. Considerablevitrified and heat-affected stone was noted throughoutthe upper rampart but was not continuous. On theinterior, a possible fire-pit cut through collapsed stonemay also relate to later occupation of the hillfort. Apost-excavation phase of works will be required.Plate 1: Looking SE across the hillfort interior showing the location of the tree erosions AOC Archaeology 2008 PAGE 4 OF 36

Craig Phadrig Hillfort (70011): Data Structure Report11.1IntroductionProject BackgroundWindblown trees exposed a section of the inner rampart on the north side of Craig Phadrig hillfort(Scheduled Monument 2892) during winter storms in January 2015. In February, AOC Archaeologyand West Coast Archaeological Services conducted an archaeological evaluation, as requested byForestry Commission Scotland, to assess the level of damage and to record the nature of survivingarchaeological deposits prior to site clean-up and stabilisation (Plate 1). Scheduled MonumentConsent from Historic Scotland also allowed for a trench evaluation across the rampart bank. Thefieldwork has provided some interesting and important new information with regards to theconstruction and possible re-use of the rampart.1.2Site Location and DescriptionCraig Phadrig is located beyond the western edge of Inverness, overlooking the River Ness to theeast, the Beauly Firth to the north (Plate 2) and its opening into the Moray Firth to the northeast(Figure 1). It occupies the northeast end of a prominent, steep-sided conglomerate hill (Canmore2015), a prominent position on the southwest side of the entrance to the Beauly Firth which opposes asecond hillfort to the northeast on Ord Hill (NMRS No. NH64NE 37). A third possible hillfort is alsolocated nearby at Torvean (NMRS No. NH64SW 2), approximately 2km to the south on a knolloverlooking the Ness Valley.The main (inner) rampart comprises an elongated sub-rectangular bank measuring 72m NE-SW longby 22m wide overall. The grass-covered banks, measuring up to 12m wide and 1.4m high internally,enclose a grass-covered interior with some low shrubs. A group of trees are growing in the northerncorner of the main rampart while low shrubs some section of the rampart banks. The main rampart isenclosed by a wooded landscape, within which a mostly concentric outer rampart is located. A smallsection of a third bank survives beyond this to the northeast side.Plate 2: Looking NW across theBeauly Firth from the southwest side of the site AOC Archaeology 2008 PAGE 5 OF 36

Craig Phadrig Hillfort (70011): Data Structure ReportOrdHillFigure 1: Location map AOC Archaeology 2008 PAGE 6 OF 36

Craig Phadrig Hillfort (70011): Data Structure Report1.3Archaeological and Historical BackgroundCraig Phadrig hillfort in Inverness (Scheduled Monument 2892) has been the subject of numerousarchaeological surveys and studies. Most recently, Forestry Commission Scotland and the RoyalCommission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) conducted a surveyand detailed study of archived material in Craig Phadrig, Inverness: Survey and Review (McCaig2014). The RCAHMS’ publication (2014) goes into substantial detail about historical references to thesite, beginning in 1592 by James VI, and produces a quality assessment of past survey plans of thefort alongside a discussion of previous excavations and investigations on the hillfort. The 2014 work,referred to in this document, has provided an excellent account of the information recorded duringinvestigations of the site.The first known excavations on the site were undertaken in the 1770s by John Williams, who alsoexcavated a series of trenches at Knock Farrell, another vitrified hillfort located in nearby Strathpeffer.Williams suggested that the vitrification of Craig Phadrig was a result of human activity (McCaig 2014).Vitrification would have been a result of deliberate destruction of the hillfort from intense burning of thetimber-laced wall, possibly occurring after the capture of the fort (Harding 2004).thAt the end of the 18 century, Tytler’s survey of the site depicted two pairs of possible structures builtat opposing (NE and SW) ends of the inside of the inner rampart as well as ten tumuli within theinterior. There is no longer any trace of these structures (McCaig 2014).In 1809, Telford and Nimmo surveyed the site. Their plan showed the location of nine trial pitsexcavated within the interior of the main rampart and one trial pit between the inner and outer wall atthe southwest end. The pits were excavated to a depth of approximately 4 feet to the bedrock. Theplan also shows what appears to be a barrow-run, possible evidence of significant early excavation(McCaig 2014).Other excavations included work in 1826 by Mackenzie, who may have excavated a well 1.5 m deepin addition to the excavation of other pits to a depth of c.1m. Substantial amounts of burnt wood, boneand a small sharpening stone were recovered during this work. Although it is unclear where this worktook place, it may have cleared out a large part of the northeast interior. In 1870, Gowans refers tograss, charred wood, peat and burnt bone being visible on the site in exposed sections from earlierinvestigations (McCaig 2014).Substantial excavations were undertaken in 1971 and 1972 by Small and Cottam and further analysisis still required on the archive, much of which is missing. Their plan shows one trench was excavatedfrom over the main rampart at the centre of the northeast end of the structure to halfway along thecentre of the interior. Three other trenches were excavated over the outer rampart at the northeast,east and southwest sides (McCaig 2014).The 1971 excavation revealed that the inner rampart had been stone-built, with extensive vitrifiedareas suggesting that it was timber-laced. Radiocarbon dates indicated that construction took place inththe 4 century BC (Small 1972). The outer rampart was of similar construction with vitrification presentin the southwest but not throughout the rampart (Small 1973).Inside the main rampart, Small identified an upper archaeological horizon separated from a lowerarchaeological horizon by a layer of soil build-up. Although much disturbance was noted, the twoarchaeological layers appeared to represent Iron Age occupation and a later Pictish period of use, tojudge by the E ware pottery, a bronze pin and a mould for a hanging bowl escutcheon recovered fromthe late layer. A stone spindle whorl was also recovered (McCaig 2014).Small also identified two possible structures (a later structure overlying an earlier one) located in thenortheast side of the interior against the rampart (McCaig 2014). Seven radiocarbon samples fromCraig Phadrig provided dates calibrated within 800 BC to 100 AD, 550 BC to 350 AD and AD 200 to AOC Archaeology 2008 PAGE 7 OF 36

Craig Phadrig Hillfort (70011): Data Structure Report800, with the earlier ranges arising from material associated with the construction of the fort (Canmore2015).A photograph from the excavation showing a rampart wall face (RCAHMS, 2015: Alan Small CraigPhadrig excavations, 1971, rampart face (MS7261/1 SC1406016)) shows a well-built stone wall atleast 2m high with a deep layer of stone chips built up against the base, probably the result of damageto the rampart during its destruction or later re-use of the site. The stonework comprises large subrounded clasts, flat slabs and pinning stones.In 2011, Craig Phadrig was surveyed by Headland Archaeology and finally by RCAHMS in 2013. The2013 survey suggested that the heavily-robbed outer rampart predated the construction of the innerrampart, indicating that the inner rampart was a later structure built with robbed out material from theearlier outer structure. This interpretation is compared to similar sites at Castle Law in Forgandenny,Perthshire and Finavon in Angus (McCaig 2014). As at Craig Phadrig, excavations at Finavon havestprovided datable evidence for its construction in the mid-1 millennium BC and secondary occupationof the site in the early Historic Period (Harding 2004: 88).Craig Phadrig is classified by Harding (2004, 85-90) as an ‘oblong fort’ type found in eastern Scotland,in a group with Finavon, Turin Hill, Dunnideer, Tap o’ Noth and Castle Law. The structures arecharacterised also by their lack of entrance and massive walls, suggesting a primary defensive use.Many of these forts show evidence of early Iron Age construction with later re-use, indicating thatthese prominently placed strongholds remained relevant for more than a millennium as recognisedcentres of authority (Harding 2004: 90, 232; Cook 2010).22.1MethodologyAims and ObjectivesThe overall aims of the archaeological evaluation were:vvvvTo establish the character and extent of exposed archaeological deposits on the inner rampartand the extent of disturbance caused by windblown treesTo evaluate the nature and extent of in situ deposits on the inner rampart in order to comparethe damaged section with a complete undamaged sectionTo improve our understanding of the rampart constructionTo enhance the historic environment record and Forest Design PlanThe specific objectives of the archaeological evaluation were:vvvv2.2To clean and record the section of the inner rampart exposed by the fallen tree rootsTo excavate a trench across the rampart adjacent to the root plate exposuresTo recover environmental samples and artefacts that would assist with the interpretation andchronology of the past activities within the site and function of the structuresTo identify the extent of damage caused by windblown trees on the site in order to informfuture forest management plansEvaluationThe wind damage to the site was caused by the uprooting of two windblown trees in the north cornerof the main rampart (Plates 3-4). The fallen trees exposed an area of the inner rampart coremeasuring 7.5m NE-SW by 2m NW-SE. Loose soil, tree roots and rampart debris were removed fromthe exposures and sections were cleaned back for recording. AOC Archaeology 2008 PAGE 8 OF 36

Craig Phadrig Hillfort (70011): Data Structure ReportThe evaluation trench, measuring 9.5m long NW-SE by 1.7m wide, was excavated perpendicular tothe southwest end of the tree exposures over the rampart bank (Figure 2). The trench length had to beextended to this length to allow for the stepping of trenches and the safe removal of collapsed stoneagainst the rampart wall faces. All excavation was conducted by hand and all contexts were recordedin plan and section, by digital photography and on pro forma record sheets. Pit or post-hole featureswere 50-100% sampled and all other archaeological deposits were grab sampled. The rampart bankand wall core were partially excavated between the two wall faces in order to show the relationshipbetween the upper bank, ditch and main rampart wall.Following the initial clean-back and assessment of features, a trench plan recorded the location offeatures and structural elements of the rampart while a profile of the overall rampart bank wasrecorded after the removal of overburden (Figure 3). After excavation through the rampart, sectiondrawings of the interior and exterior wall faces were recorded while both of the transverse sectionsand th

Illustration by: Steven Birch, Mary Peteranna Date of Fieldwork: 9-18 February 2015 Date of Report: 17th March 2015 Enquiries to: AOC Archaeology Group Shore Street Cromarty Ross-shire IV11 8XL Mob. 07972 259 255 E-mail This document has been prepared in accordance with AOC standard operating procedures. Author: Mary Peteranna Date: 24/03/2015 Approved by: Martin .

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