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The Lomond hills
View from east Lomond towards the west Lomond hill
History of East Lomond hill fort
A reconstruction of what the fort on east Lomond may have looked like

Since 2014 the Falkland Stewardship Trust has commissioned several excavations  led by the late Oliver O’Grady and Joe FitzPatrick which revealed a Bronze Age burial and evidence of occupation and industrial activity from the 1st century BC to the 7th century AD. In 2022 there have been renewed excavations which are ongoing led by Joe and the University of Aberdeen (Gordon Noble & James O'Driscoll).


It was Gordon who suggested that this may be a great site for palaeoenvironmental  analysis.  Thanks also to Ninian who granted permission for the coring and Joe Fitpatrick for helping me to find a suitable site.

The long occupation of this hillfort settlement, its importance, as well as the Roman artefacts found on site fit well within the aims and objectives of our project.


What we hope to achieve from analysis of this site and other sites is to understand the  impact of social change relating to Roman incursions into NE Scotland and Roman abandonment of southern Britain after the early 5th century AD -throughout the early Medieval period. Did communities prosper?, no change, or is there any evidence of crisis in the environmental records??

The Venicones are believed to have occupied this fort; later it was part of the Pictish kingdom of Fib.


First constructed around 700 BC; expanded around AD 600 and potentially abandoned in AD 1000. It was also occupied throughout the Roman Iron age and late Roman coloured pottery has been found on site.


Archaeological excavations over the years have led to numerous other finds including evidence of iron working, a slab bearing the incised figure of a bull ; a  melon bead, fragments of glass vessels and two glass armlet, a spindle whorl, whetstones, fragments of polished shale, stone tools, part of an iron horse harness bit, part of a quern stone, a stone pot lid, and a sherd of prehistoric pottery. 

Info from East Lomond hillfort 2
Info from east Lomond hill fort 3
Myself testing some locations on the Lomond Hills
Views of the Lomond Hills
Views of THE lOMOND hILLS 2

Top - Me testing potential sites with the auger.

Bottom - Emanuele Fanesi from the University of Camerino

Emanuele Fanesi assisting with the sediment augering

Top a view from the top of East Lomond looking over the east Lomond peat bog  - our core location below and you can see West Lomond in the distance. We also took a core from West Lomond.

Below - The bottom of the east Lomond core. 81cm is the bottom of the core - we hit clay. I was pessimistic about the potential of this core as the depth seems very shallow and I thought the top may be missing, but results so far suggest just very, very, very slow sediment accumulation. 


The coring team included myself, Emanuele, Tim Mighall & Gunnar Wehrhan 

One of the cores extracted from east Lomond

Top - Looking towards East Lomond

Bottom - Joe Fitzpatrick and myself searching for good coring sites.

More views across the Lomond Hills

Methods & Results so far:
  • Gordon Noble had been and will be continuing to excavate this hill fort and suggested I might be able to find a suitable location for palaeoenvironmental analysis

  • I then did a desk based survey using both, historical maps.ordinance survey and aerial photography to find suitable test locations.With the help of Joe Fitzpatrick and Emanuele Fanesi a work experience student from the University of Camerino Italy we searched and tested potential locations from the east and west Lomond Hills.

  • Emanuele and me also returned to contact land owners to obtain permission not only around the Lomond hill. We also travelled to Birnie, Logie Dunno and Ardoch fort to try to find potential locations and obtain the necessary permissions and with his help I have managed to get this project up and running.

  • We then returned in October last year to core the east and west Lomond hills. The coring team included myself, Emanuele, an MSc student Gunnar Wehrhan and Tim Mighall

  • Back at the lab I then sub-samples for the radio carbon dates - These are the dates so far -we will be submitting more soon:
    20 cm: 1500's
    60 cm: Bronze Age
     This suggests very slow accumulation 

  • Myself, Tim Mighall and Dmitri Mauquoy have sub-sampled the east Lomond site  - Dmitri has a cool new machine that can sub-sample at high resolution, but this requires 4 people to operate. We subsamples at 0.4 to 0.6 cm resolution.

  • Pollen and Npp analysis is almost complete, so hopefully will have some preliminary findings soon. Geochemical samples are still waiting in a queue. I also need to send a couple for samples off for 14C  dating. 

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