MHG39785 - Shell Midden, West Murkle


Shell midden associated with promontory fort.

Type and Period (1)

  • SHELL MIDDEN (Undated)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The fort is generally as described above. The rampart only survives to any extent on landward SW side. A depression in the rampart, 3.5m wide, may indicate position of entrance or be the result of recent mutilation. There are indications of a now shallow ditch outside rampart on S side.
Visited by OS (J B) 7 December 1981.

A grassy hillock forming a blunt headland some 6m above high water level. Around it runs a considerable bank and ditch which start in a straight line from the cliff on the E side, but about half-way across curve sharply W and seawards. The top of the bank stands some 3m above bottom of U-sectioned ditch; the bank has a core of large stones and probably a masonry revetment. A slight depression about midway along bank is probably not the original entrance, which possibly was at one of the ends lost by erosion. Within the fort nothing is visible on ground except for a few erect slabs behind rampart at E end. In the cliff-sections, however, portions of walls can be seen, suggesting that the defended area, which is thickly overgrown was quite densely built-up.
R G Lamb 1980.

Fort (NR) (rems of) OS 6" map, (1970)

The fragmentary remains of a small promontory fort. It consists of a ruined stone wall or rampart, measuring some 7m in width, 2.5m high externally and 1m internally, which encloses a small, much eroded cliff projection 26m NW-SE by 13m transversely. Running N from E end of rampart along cliff edge for about 2m, there is a line of thin slabs 0.6m high, possibly the remains of defences along the E side. No evidence of an entrance or internal structures is to be seen.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (N K B) 16 February 1965.

Opposite termination of farm road which leads past West Murkle is a small promontory across the landward end of which is a wall or rampart measuring some 8-10ft in thickness and 8ft max height. The end and sides of the promontory are much eroded and there is no trace of any structure which may have formerly existed behind the defence (RCAHMS 1911). 'An old fort'. A 2ft layer of black soil overlies heaps of periwinkle and limpet shells (ONB 1872).
Name Book 1872; RCAHMS 1911.

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred ND 1578 6986 (14m by 14m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet ND16NE
Civil Parish THURSO
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

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External Links (1)

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