Aberdeenshire HER - NJ86SE0014 - CASTLE OF DUNDARG

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Main Details

Primary ReferenceNJ86SE0014
NameCASTLE OF DUNDARG
NRHE Card No.NJ86SE17
NRHE Numlink 19958
HES SM No. 2450
HES LB No. 34
Site Form Standing Structure
Site Condition Incomplete
Details Remains of promontory fort and later castle, also known as Dundarg Castle. The prehistoric phase of Dundarg consists of the outer multiple ditch and banks. Bone-rich midden deposits, probably post-holes on the promontory itself, together with worked flints and an enamelled bronze button with swastika symbol dated to the 3rd or 4th century AD. The inner ditch of the fort was widened to form a later castle moat. Simpson believed that Dundarg was the 'Cathair of Abbordobor' which the Mormaer Bede the Pict made over to St Drostan on his arrival at Aberdour in the 6th century AD, as narrated in The Book of Deer. Simpson considered the Celtic chapel to be represented by foundations of a building set at right angles to other buildings in the inner ward, however this has not been proven. The castle was built in the 13th century by Comyns and dismantled, probably by Bruce, in 1308. It was re-built 1334 and destroyed almost immediately afterwards in a famous seige which was broken by the use of cannon, the first known example of such cannondale in Scotland. The inner gatehouse survives though there is some evidence that it was partially rebuilt and provided with gunloops in the 1550's. The site was finally abandoned in the mid 17th century. A house was built on part of the site by Air Vice Marshall Carnegie in 1937-8, constructed mainly of re-used material, the masonry mostly from the former Aberdour Free Church and with interior fittings from there and elsewhere. 2-storey, Asymmetrical, wide, 3-bay south elevation with recessed centre block with Tudor arched entrance. Dark whinstone rubble with extensive use of tooled grey granite dressings.
Last Update09/05/2019
Updated Bycpalmer
Compiler 
Date of Compilation09/05/1978

Easting: 389457.633997396, Northing: 864856.740742371

Google Map for NJ86SE0014

National Grid Reference: NJ 8945 6485



Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
1912 Excavation
1950 Excavation
1952 Excavation
1981 Excavation

Excavations and Surveys

Date MDate YTypeDurationDirector / OrganisationAuspicesFundExtent
 1912  D FORDYCE   
 1950  W D SIMPSON   
 1952  F WAINWRIGHT   
 1981  N FOJUTHSSDD 

Artefact and Ecofact

Date MDate YArtefact TypeFinderRecovery MethodConditionStorage LocationAccess No.
 1912 ENAMELLED BUTTON Excavation National Museum of Scotland  
 1912 STEEL ARROWHEAD Excavation  
 1912 HORSE-SHOES Excavation  
 1912 COIN JAMES VI Excavation  
 1912 COIN EDWARD I Excavation  
 1912 FINGER RING Excavation  
 1912 BRACELET Excavation  
 1912 MEDIEVAL POTTERY Excavation  
 1912 SPINDLE-WHORLS Excavation  
 1912 HAMMER-STONE Excavation  
 1912 FLINTS Excavation  
 1950 ANTLER PICK WDS Excavation Marischal Museum  

Ecofact

Samples
Palynology
Ecofact Notes

Monument Types

Monument Type 1Monument Type 2Monument Type 3OrderProbability
FORTSPROMONTORYREMAINS OFA100
RAMPARTS  B100
DITCHESDEFENSIVE C100
BONES DEERD100
BONES CATTLEE100
BONES SHEEPF100
BONES PIGG100
BONES FISHH100
BUTTONSBRONZEENAMELLEDI100
SYMBOLS SWASTIKAJ100
FLINTS WORKEDK100
PITSPOSTSITE OFL100
ARD-SHARESWOODEN M100
CASTLES REMAINS OFN100
MOATS REMAINS OFO100
GATE-HOUSES REMAINS OFP100
GUN-LOOPS  Q100
COINSSILVEREDWARD IR100
TONGS  S100
RINGSFINGER T100
BRACELETS  U100
HORSE-SHOES  V100
ARROWHEADSSTEEL W100
COINSBILLONJAMES VIX100
HAIRPINS  Y100
BALLSSTONE Z100
SPINDLE-WHORLSCLAY AA100
HAMMER-STONES  AB100
BORERSFLINT AC100
POTTERY  AD100
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