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11 January 2015
Scottish Iron Age farm had commanding view

Ravelrig Hill is a prominent feature of the Edinburgh landscape, with stunning views over Edinburgh and the Forth Estuary. Back in the late 18th Century the Rev William Nisbet identified what he believed to be a Roman station located there. More recent and accurate radiocarbon dating identifies the hill fort (commonly known as Kaimes Hill) as dating from approximately 400 BCE.
     This hill fort is situated immediately southwest of an Iron Age settlement, which was originally investigated back in 2009 by the now defunct Glasgow University Archaeological Research division. This settlement comprises a single large roundhouse with an outer enclosure surrounded by a palisade. The settlement was built on bedrock and the outline of the roundhouse and palisade can be clearly seen, identified by grooves cut into the rock.
     The initial investigations were prompted by the expansion of a nearby quarry and the full findings have only just been published. The main roundhouse was a wooden frame with wattle and daub walls, and of a similar design to others found in Eastern Scotland. It dates from approximately 600 – 400 BCE and may well have been abandoned in favour of the more secure nearby Kaimes hill fort. Analysis of waste found within the site confirms that it was an arable settlement although livestock farming was probably more common in that area at that time.

Edited from Past Horizons (11 December 2014)

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