Excavations at Sheep Hill hillfort, West Dunbartonshire, took place at weekends between 1966 and 1969, with a small team of volunteers. The fort is sited on a volcanic plug of basalt with extensive views up and down the river Clyde. The finds are in the Hunterian Museum of the University of Glasgow, and a preliminary account of the discoveries was published a few years later (MacKie 1976). The hilltop stronghold was found in fact to have been two successive forts. The first (Fort 1) was a timber-framed dun – a drystone enclosure on the summit of the hill. This was destroyed by fire and partly vitrified near the end of the Bronze Age, and most of the rubble from the walls was re-used in the larger Iron Age hillfort (Fort 2) which was built on top of it. A midden from this early fort was found under the rampart of the later one and contained gritty Dunagoil pottery as well as pieces of fired clay moulds for bronze implements. It is possible that a palisaded enclosure preceded the vitrified fort. Nearby on the north was once one of the finest cup-and-ring carved rocks in the country which may have been damaged for building material. The later hillfort consisted of several enclosures defended by rubble and earth ramparts. An important element in the associated material culture was the shale armlet, several examples of which were found. They appear to have been made on the site. The fort is difficult to date precisely but was almost certainly pre-Roman. No Roman artefacts were found although the fort at the west end of the Antonine wall is only a short distance to the east.
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- Resource type
- MacKie, E W
National Museums Scotland
- Journal title
Scottish Archaeological Journal
Edinburgh University Press
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- Library of Congress Classification