Aberdeenshire HER - NJ62NW0001 - DUNNIDEER HILLFORT

Print site NJ62NW0001 Feedback on site NJ62NW0001

Main Details

Primary ReferenceNJ62NW0001
NRHE Card No.NJ62NW1
NRHE Numlink 18128
HES SM No. 95
Site Form Earthwork
Site Condition Incomplete
Details Substantial vitrified hillfort with outer works, which in turn are surrounded by an incomplete trivallate system of defences. The summit defences consist of two stone walls, the outer a low stony bank, best seen in the north and east, and absent on the south and southwest flank. The inner wall represents the highly vitrified fort, an oblong enclosure circa 65 m by 25 m, with a contemporary cistern near the west end. Slight traces of outer works appear as a ruinous stony bank. The outer-most line of the trivallate defences is represented only by the remains of a marker trench seen as a slight terrace and situated well down the hill enclosing an area of circa 289 m x 182 m. Gaps for entrances have been left in the east and west. The remains must represent at least two main structural phases, but no evidence exists to indicate whether the vitrified fort preceded the unfinished outworks or vice versa. In October 2005, the vegetation on the south slopes of Dunnideer Hill, was accidentally set alight and pottery sherds were subsequently found by Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Service within the exposed soil in the burnt area. Historic Scotland commissioned CFA to carry out an assessment of the extent and severity of the damage caused to archaeological resources by the fire itself and the remedial measures undertaken to limit the extent of the fire. The assessment included fieldwalking and metal-detecting of the affected area to recover exposed artefacts, photographic and mapping of newly exposed and previously known features, and limited test-pitting to consider vertical damage to sediments. The survey recorded a number of additional scoops or platforms, and further detail to features previously masked by vegetation. The report concluded that most of the burning presented a low level of threat to archaeological remains, in that the burning was relatively superficial and had not penetrated to archaeological levels, but that regeneration of vegetation required careful management to avoid damage to archaeological features. In July 2008, the Hillforts of Strathdon Project led by Murray Cook carried out an evaluation at the site. One trench was opened, revealing evidence which seemed to show that the rampart had been levelled during the medieval period. Charcoal and artefacts were also recovered. Samples taken in 2010 for archaeomagnetic dating indicate a date for the vitrification of circa 550-250 BC. The remains of a tower house, possibly the earliest example in Scotland, are located on the summit of the hillfort within the ramparts (NJ62NW0043).
Last Update03/04/2024
Updated Bycpalmer
Date of Compilation16/11/1977

Google Map for NJ62NW0001

National Grid Reference: NJ 6123 2814

Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
2005 Field Survey
2008 Excavation

Excavations and Surveys

Date MDate YTypeDurationDirector / OrganisationAuspicesFundExtent
 2005 Survey      
 2008 Excavation      

Artefact and Ecofact

Date MDate YArtefact TypeFinderRecovery MethodConditionStorage LocationAccess No.
00 SPEARHEAD Stray Find British Museum 5611-4.5
00 SOCKETED AXE Stray Find Aberdeen University Museums 246


Ecofact Notes

Monument Types

Monument Type 1Monument Type 2Monument Type 3OrderProbability