Scheduled Monument

Milton of Tordarroch, fort 800m S ofSM11550

Status: Designated


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The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill fort and promontory fort); hut circle, roundhouse, Secular: shieling
Local Authority
Daviot And Dunlichity
NH 66651 31917
266651, 831917


The monument comprises a fort of prehistoric date, visible as fragments of walls and a revetment on a rocky, steep-sided outcrop projecting from the NE flank of Creag Bhuide, at a height of approximately 275m above sea level.

The remains of the defensive wall of the fort enclose an oval area measuring 38m from E to W by 17.5m transversely. The coursed rubble wall is approximately 2.7m in thickness and up to 1.5m in height. For much of the circuit the wall was placed to take advantage of sheer rock faces and outcrops. Much of the wall is more in the character of a revetment with a sloping build and one or two massive boulders are built into the footings. The N section of the wall of the site is the most complete, with the E and W parts now consisting mainly of tumble. On the S side a length of the wall is still visible for 22m. The interior is very uneven and dissected by two natural gullies. It is covered by heather and bracken with patches of grass and bare stone. A hut circle, represented by a stony ring-bank 0.5m high, is evident within the southern part of the interior. Access to the fort is from a gulley to the N. This is overlooked by an area of bare rock flanked by near-vertical cliffs, which could have served as an outer ward of the fort. Two shieling huts, probably post-medieval in date, have been built up against the enclosure wall in the NW quarter.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the visible remains of the fort and an area around in which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: The form and size of the monument suggests it represents the remains of a small fort, probably of Iron Age date. It is defended by single stone rampart crowning a rocky outcrop, commanding extensive views NE over the fort's hinterland in Strathnairn. Despite much of the rampart having tumbled downslope, sufficient remains to accurately define the course of the defences and archaeological deposits relating to the defensive circuit and settlement within the interior will almost certainly be preserved. With regard to the latter, the area of the hut circle would be of particular interest. It therefore has the potential to reveal valuable information about local variations in domestic architecture and building use, as well as the character of late prehistoric fortifications.

Contextual characteristics: As the remains of a small fortified settlement, the monument has the potential to reveal much about house building and domestic life as well as the character of fortifications in the later prehistoric communities of NE Scotland. It can be compared and contrasted to other small forts in elevated locations along Strathnairn, such as Caisteal an Dunriachaidh on Ashie Moor, and to the many others occurring all over the Highland zone of Scotland to create an understanding of regional identity and society. The monument complements the other types of prehistoric settlement sites identified close by in Strathnairn, to provide a fuller picture of prehistoric landscape and society in the region over time.

The inhabitants of forts lived in round, thatched timber (sometimes also stone) houses. The smaller forts, such as this, would have accommodated only one or two round houses. The hut circle identified within the fort at Milton of Tordarroch may have been the only dwelling.

Forts were built at various times from at least the end of the Late Bronze Age (around 800 BC) until probably the end of the early medieval period (around. 1000 AD). Stratigraphic sequences from other forts in eastern Scotland suggest that the largest defensive enclosures are of relatively early date and that forts became progressively smaller in the course of the 1st millennium BC. If there is any relationship between the size of fortifications and their social or political significance, power appears to have been focussed in the hands of progressively smaller groups of people. The fort at Milton of Tordarroch would probably have been the stronghold of a relatively small group, who held sway over the good agricultural land overlooked by the fort.

National Importance: This monument is of national importance because it is represents good surviving evidence of a late prehistoric fortified settlement, an important element in the fragmented picture of prehistoric settlement in Strathnairn that has come down to us. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of fortifications, vernacular architecture, landuse and society in this locality and, by association, the rest of Scotland in the later prehistoric period. The loss of this site in this area would affect our future ability to appreciate and understand the prehistoric landscape and its inhabitants.



RCAHMS record the monument as NH63SE 33; Highland Council SMR as NH63SE0033.


Meldrum E 1976, 'Daviot and Dunlichity, Carn Bheithen, fort', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT 1976, 37.


About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

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Printed: 02/04/2023 07:38