Newsletter – Issue 150, October 2004
Visit to Dreva Hill Fort and Settlements
We visited this remarkable site on Saturday, 28th August. Although the sky was overcast, we got very little rain and spent a pleasant and energetic day out. Dreva is on a rocky knoll in a very hilly area and its two ramparts stand out in a dramatic fashion against the surrounding hills and glens. A patch of upright stones to the southwest represents a chevaux de frise designed to break up any cavalry charge on the fort. There are also two large unenclosed settlements close to the fort lying to the northeast and the northwest. They consist of subrectangular enclosures, connecting pathways, cultivation terraces and hut circles up to 15m in diameter, some of which are scooped into the hillside. Further to the northeast and across a road are the walls of a small enclosed settlement. Nearby are the stone foundations of a particularly large hut circle. Another interesting feature is a patch of small cairns that possibly is the result of field clearance.
The visit was particularly illuminating in that it provided a contrast between the formidable defences of a small hill fort from the middle of the first millennium BC with the much more extensive settlements from pre-Roman and Roman times.
Proposed visit to the Cleaven Dyke
The Cleaven Dyke is a particularly enigmatic Neolithic monument. It is a linear earthwork about two miles long. The earthwork itself is up to three metres high and ten metres wide, and there is a berm and ditch on either side. Its purpose remains a mystery but the most popular view is that it is a mystical pathway for religious initiates who experienced the spiritual power of monuments and significant natural features as they walked along its length.
The longest section is on the west side of the A93 between Perth and Blairgowrie just over a mile north of where the A93 crosses the River Isla at the Beech Hedge. We shall be meeting there at 13.30 on Saturday, 16th October at a point on the road about three quarters of the way through a wood where there is a five bar gate on the west side of the road. If anyone is late, walk down south from the gate along a forest path and this should take you to the large earthwork to the west.
Dig at Dalmeny
As expected, unfortunately this dig is not going to happen this year. Initial information from the Factor was that the crop of barley would be harvested early giving a number of weeks before ploughing and resowing. The crop was however wheat, which is harvested later, and the window of opportunity shrank making the dig unviable. A subsequent telephone conversation with the Farm Manager confirmed that the crop cycle is such that we will have to wait until mid-2006.