Scheduled Monument

Maiden Castle, fort 285m ESE of Rowantree CottageSM12012

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)
Local Authority
NJ 69422 24360
369422, 824360


The monument comprises a fort of later prehistoric date. It is situated at the N end of a rocky spur, in deciduous woodland, at the foot of the NE flank of Bennachie and at around 200m above sea level.

The fort measures about 40m E-W by about 35m transversely. It is enclosed by a grass- and tree-grown rampart that measures about 3.5m wide and up to about 0.5m in height. It is best preserved on the west and south, but is less well defined elsewhere and partially removed on the east by more recent quarrying. There is a ditch immediately outside the surviving parts of the rampart. It is also best defined on the west and south, where it measures about 5m wide and about 1m deep. There is a gap in the rampart and ditch on the south, which marks the position of the entrance to the fort. The interior of the fort is occupied by a later enclosure measuring about 20m in diameter and defined by a stony bank measuring about 4.5m wide and up to about 0.6m in height. There are a number of small hollows within the fort and enclosure, which are evidence of undocumented antiquarian excavations.

Limited archaeological excavation of the monument in the 2007 showed that the interior of the fort is much more complex than the surface remains suggest, and that the fort was subject to several phases of occupation and remodelling. The excavations showed that the interior of the fort contains at least 1m of stratified archaeological material. Remains of a second rampart and ditch survive within the fort. The inner ditch is buried beneath an area of later cobbling. The fort also contains the remains of a kiln and a substantial roundhouse with two phases of construction.

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

Statement of National Importance

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

As a small Iron-Age fort in good condition, the monument retains well-defined sections of its perimeter bank and ditch. Excavation has demonstrated the survival within the fort of a wide range of well-preserved archaeological material relating to at least two phases of construction and use. A lack of intensive land use across the site, due to its topography and location within woodland, means that the potential for preservation of further archaeological material within and around the fort is high. Potential exists for preservation of buried soils not only within the ditches but also beneath the remains of the ramparts. Such buried soils may provide evidence of the environment within which later prehistoric people built and used the fort. The ditches may contain deposits and archaeological features relating to the construction, occupation, and use of the site, and its association with possible surrounding field systems.

Contextual characteristics

Iron-Age people often sited their forts on rocky knolls and ridges. Defensibility and visibility within the wider landscape are both likely to have influenced the location of this fort, which commands open views over the river Urie and its valley. The fort is located only 2.3km from a substantial late-prehistoric or early-historic fort on Bennachie. The two forts may have been contemporary, offering us an opportunity to better understand the function of such sites within the wider pattern of settlement in the area during the late-prehistoric and early-historic periods.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it is a good example of a well-preserved small prehistoric fort with bank and outer ditch remaining, situated in a strategic location commanding a large area of cultivable land. The monument contains well-preserved archaeological deposits within its interior and there is high potential for the preservation of further material within the ditches and the area immediately surrounding the fort. It adds to our potential to further understand settlement patterns and societal structure during the late-prehistoric and early-historic periods. This potential is enhanced by the fort's proximity to a substantial fort on Bennachie that is likely to date to a similar time. The loss of this monument would impede our future ability to appreciate and understand the late-prehistoric and early-historic landscape and its inhabitants.



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ62SE 2. Aberdeenshire SMR records the monument as NJ62SE 0002.


Feacham R W 1963, A GUIDE TO PREHISTORIC SCOTLAND, London. Batsford.

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.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

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Printed: 20/04/2024 10:44