Scheduled Monument

Barmekin of Echt, fort, Barmekin HillSM57

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
Last Date Amended
Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill fort and promontory fort)
Local Authority
NJ 72591 7128
372591, 807128


The monument comprises a fort of prehistoric date, visible as upstanding stone walls and earthworks. The monument was first scheduled in 1953. It is being rescheduled to extend protection to cover the whole of the archaeologically sensitive area. Forts of this type are characteristic of the late Bronze Age and Iron Age (first millennium BC).

The monument is situated within moorland on the summit of Barmekin Hill at about 275m OD. The monument comprises a multi-vallate hillfort (a fort with multiple ramparts and ditches), and is unusual in that it has five entrances. The fort is composed of five roughly concentric ramparts, with at least two phases of rampart construction visible. The earliest works comprise the outermost ramparts (from the outside, ramparts A, B and C). These consist of heather-covered rubble and earthen banks, which stand to a maximum height of around 2.8m, and enclose an area c.150m N to S by c.135m E to W. The second innermost rampart (D) is situated immediately inside these works and comprises a dry-stone wall surrounded by fallen stones. Both wall faces can be seen intermittently and reveal an original wall thickness of c.2.6m. The innermost enclosure (E) is also of dry-stone construction, and encloses an area c.115m N to S by 110m E to W. It is in a more ruinous condition than its neighbour, but is likely originally to have been more substantial, being approximately 3.7m in thickness and surrounded by a greater quantity of tumbled stones. In the SE, two heather-covered stone walls, 0.5m high, adjoin the walls forming the two innermost ramparts (D and E).

The fort defences are pierced by five entrances located on the NNE (entrance no. 1), E (2), S (3), SW (4) and WSW (5) sides of the fort. Of these, entrances 3 and 5 are blocked by the stone walls D and E, indicating that these walls were constructed later than ramparts A, B and C. With the exception of entrance 1, there are hollow ways associated with all of the entrances (sunken ways flanked by earthen banks). These emanate from the outer ramparts (A, B and C) to wall E, suggesting that the original fort comprised five ramparts, and that the stone walls (D and E) were built later, and on top of, the inner two ramparts. The latter were probably of the same rubble and earthen construction as ramparts A, B and C. All entrances are stepped to form a zig-zag, with the ramparts bending slightly in at each side of the entrance, except entrance 2 which is probably the fairly modern access way to the now ruined observatory, present within the interior.

At entrance 4, the gap through wall D is probably modern as access to it is barred by a line of upright stones on the W side of the hollow way. As there is an original entrance through wall E at this spot, and as wall E is more ruinous than wall D, it seems likely that wall D was constructed after E, blocking this means of access.

A ring-ditch house of prehistoric date, around 12m in diameter, has been identified some 14m W of the outermost rampart, immediately N of entrance 5.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to survive. It is almost circular in shape, measuring 232m N-S and 245m E-W (to include the remains of the ring-ditch house), as marked in red on the accompanying map.



No Bibliography entries for this designation

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: 25/10/2021 14:35