MHG8103 - Motte, Cnoc A Chaisteil


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

  • MOTTE? (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD)
  • PROMONTORY FORT? (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)

Protected Status

Full Description

NH66NW 6 6499 6909.
Cnoc a' Chaisteil (NR) OS 25" map, (1968)

An artificial mound, traditionally site of an ancient castle of which nothing remains. <1>

A motte, still known locally as Cnoc a' Chaisteil, situated on brink of a natural escarpment. It comprises a sub-circular area, measuring about 27m diameter, which is defended in S and E by natural slopes and elsewhere by a crescentic ditch with outer bank. Where best preserved in N, the ditch is c7m wide and c2m deep and outer bank is c4m wide and c0.4m high. The interior is mainly original ground surface, supplemented in N and W arcs by upcast from ditch to form a level area. Around N arc of the interior, about 3 to 4m from inner rim of ditch is a curving mutilated bank, possibly a recent tree ring, c2.5m wide and 0.4m high, truncated at each end by quarrying, which has also mutilated much of perimeter of motte, and destroyed the ditch and outer bank in W. The entrance is not evident.
Re-surveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (N K B) 30 October 1970.

Site has been completely destroyed by quarrying activities.
Info from OS (Inverness office) to OS archaeol section.

The site was excavated in June-July 1983 in advance of sand and gravel extraction. The enclosure measured c32m noth-south by c29m east-west and was defended on the north and northwest sides by two banks and a ditch. The west half of defences and causeway entrance have been all but destroyed by relatively recent gravel quarrying. The entrance was originally c3.5m wide. On the east half defences were sectioned where they were best preserved. The ditch, c7.5m wide and c2.4m deep, was V-sectioned with a noticeable steepening at bottom. The external bank was c4.5m wide and survived to a height of c0.5m over a well preserved old land surface. The inner bank was c6m wide and c0.3m high but had been damaged by quarrying for a modern plantation boundary. Within enclosed area several postholes and small pits were discovered, mostly in the east half; they appeared to form no coherent pattern. To the east of the entrance a large pit, containing burnt soil and charcoal, had been cut into the partly filled ditch terminal. Amongst the few finds recovered was one sherd of medieval pottery found in the upper fill of the ditch. The large pit produced heavily corroded pieces of iron. <3> <4>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NH 6499 6909 (60m by 60m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH66NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish ALNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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