dumfries-1920/04-056

Transcription

HISTORICAL MONUMENTS (SCOTLAND) COMMISSION.

and Haggy Hill (No. 596) in Tundergarth Parish. Moreover, on the ramparts of
those which show in their trenches what is presumed to be the application of an
iron tool, there may also be observed along the crests of some of them the foundations
of a stone parapet. Such is the case on the forts of Craighousesteads Hill (No.600) and
Haggy Hill (No. 596) in Tundergarth. Certain of the earthworks with bold ramparts
and trenches, such as Woody Castle (No. 450) overlooking Lochmaben, or the im-
pressive remains of the triply-ramparted fort at Gallaberry, Dryfeholm (No. 115) in
Dryfesdale, show no peculiarities of construction that enable the observer to hazard
an opinion as to the period to which they are referable; the same may be said of the
segmental earthworks at the edge of the banks of the Mollin Burn (No. 320), Johnstone
Parish, and Auchencat Burn (No. 485), Moffat Parish. In the Stewartry of Kirkcud-
bright a circular fort at Drumcoltran yielded from the bottom of its surrounding trench
some years ago a hoard of Bronze Age rapier-blades, and, as far as the characteristics
of that fort may be regarded as typical, it affords a definite index for the identifica-
tion of other forts of that period. Two forts in Annandale certainly present a
superficial resemblance to it: these are the fort on Castlehill, Pilmuir Common
(No. 113, in Dryfesdale, and that at Millbank (No. 14) in Applegarth Parish. Both
are approximately circular, are surrounded by single ditches with earthen mounds on
scarp and counterscarp, and are pure earthworks, features all possessed by the Drum-
coltran fort. A peculiarity noticeable in a number of the forts, and almost universal
in the enclosures, is the opening of the entrance into a excavated hollow on the
interior, so as to be commanded by higher ground all round. This may be seen in
the fort in Corncockle Plantation (No. 449), Lochmaben Parish, and in the fort on
Newland Hill (No. 599) in Tundergarth Parish, which has previously been quoted
as an example with a stone parapet above the rampart. A fort which seems to be
unique in this district is that near Crawthat Cottage (No. 595) near the road from
Lockerbie to Langholm, and also in Tundergarth Parish, its peculiarity being its
division by a cross trench into two separately defensible areas.
The Eskdale and Ewesdale region contains only some twenty-four forts, and of
these twenty are situated above the junction of the Esk and Ewes. For the most
part they lie in the Esk valley, clustering to the north of a point where the Black
Esk coming from the west mingles with the White Esk from the north, both streams
thereafter flowing on in an easterly direction. The most remarkable of the group is
the fine fort of Castle O'er (No. 177). It occupies the crest of a long ridge, also a
considerable area of ground below the eminence,and its defences, which are formid-
able, combine wall, trenches, and ramparts. Hut circles are evident in the interior,
and there is abundant evidence of rock-cutting. In various aspects it recalls the
fort on the summit of Bonchester Hill in Roxburghshire, ยน which shows a similar
employment in its defensive system of walls, trenches, and ramparts. A further
remarkable arrangement intensifies the analogy, that is the enclosing of an area
of ground at the base of the eminence crowned by the fort. A slight excavation
on the Bonchester Hill fort produced an iron shouldered pin which, along with
the type of querns found, all of the saddle variety, suggested an early Iron Age
date for the construction. It seems likely, therefore, without straining the analogy,
that the Castle O'er fort originated in the same period.
There are three features generally noticeable in these forts which link them to
others noted in Annandale, and these are: rock-cutting in the formation of the trenches,

1 See Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., xliv., 1909-10, p. 225.

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