The Chesters, Drem
- HER number: MEL881
- Site Name: The Chesters, Drem
- Grid Reference: 350760 678259
- Civil Parish:
- Monument Type:
- Fort (Iron Age, Late Prehistoric, Prehistoric)
- Enclosed Settlement (Late Prehistoric, Prehistoric)
- Summary: Hillfort
- Description: NT57NW 1 5076 7826
For nearby pit-alignments, see:
NT57NW 47 NT 504 781
NT57NW 49 NT 5098 7831 to NT 5096 7876
NT57NW 51 NT 505 783 to NT 509 784
NT57NW 65 NT 506 782 to NT 509 784
NT57NW 114 NT c. 5098 7833 to c. 5105 7886
(NT 5076 7826) The Chesters (NAT) Fort (NR)
(Unspecified) OS map.
Although on plan The Chesters would seem to belong among the larger and better preserved hill-forts in the country, it stands on a very low ridge immediately under the lee of a precipitous scarp 50' high from which missiles could easily be directed into the interior.
Apart from this anomaly, the fort represents a type of multivallate work, the innermost defended zone of which is bordered by a whole series of ramparts and ditches, and there is reason to believe that the existing visible remains may represent parts of more than one phase of construction. The innermost enclosure measures 380' by 150' within a ruinous rampart appearing for the most part as a mere scarp. This is surrounded by another rampart, and thereafter by traces of up to six others. The external measurement of the whole structure is 900' by 500'. (See RCAHMS 1924 plan, fig.47).
The interior contains the surface traces of several circular stony foundations which vary in size. Certain of them overlie the ruined defences, an indication that they represent a period of occupation subsequent to the time when the ramparts were in use and probably dating from the 2nd or later centuries AD.
R W Feachem 1963; RCAHMS 1924, visited 1914.
A multivallate fort as described. The two inner ramparts have a maximum height of 5.0m where best preserved on the NW. The outer ramparts survive to a height of 3.5m.
Visited by OS (BS) 22 July 1975.
Work has begun on removing Second World War constructions from the monument. They consist of an observation post and several gun-emplacements. In removing the former, which was situated in the centre of the fort, vestigial traces of two walls appeared which might pertain to the hut circle marked at this spot by the RCAHMS prior to the erection of the post. No attempt, however, was made to excavate any more than necessary. The removal of one of the gun-emplacements, situated on top of the inner rampart on the N side of the E entrance to the fort, gave an opportunity of examining the partial section through the rampart. There was no sign of revetting within the bank and no tip lines were visible. There were no finds of any importance.
M J Yates 1976.
(1) In August 2011 Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society undertook a geophysical survey within the Scheduled Area at Chesters Hill fort, as part of the Rampart Scotland project. Two area ground resistance surveys totalling 2400 square metres were surveyed to investigate if known prehistoric pit alignments to the north and south-east of the fort were continued. An area to the east of the fort and a small area to the north, which included some visible remains of Dremhills Farm were surveyed. The survey did not reveal any evidence of pits although a possible stone setting to the east and some traces of wall foundations at the farm site were noted.
(2) In September 2012 a team from the University of Bradford carried out an exploratory programme of geophysical prospection on and around the Property in Care (PIC) at The Chesters, Drem (SM90072). The survey area also included parts of two other Scheduled Monuments SM5824 & SM5862. The aim was to explore the potential of the pit alignment systems around the hillfort and to assess the potential for geophysical methods, including electromagnetic survey (EM) and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), to elucidate the nature and complexity of pit alignments. Almost all features visible on aerial photography were identified, along with several additional features. These include the discovery of features within the PIC including a possible pit alignment and enclosure. An area of apparent archaeological complexity and an area with the potential for the survival of palaeoenvironmental material have also been identified. Elsewhere there is evidence for variable fills within sigle alignments that suggest additional complexity.
In Area D, within the PIC, the approach to the hillfort is visible as a broad band in the gophysical data that may represent a worn track or holloway emerging from the E entrance. Two features were identified in the EM data for this area. These are a large circular feature (MEL10302) that may represent a single or double enclosure ditch and a linear feature running approximately E-W (MEL10303).
(3) In July 2012 Rampart Scotland undertook a second season of topographic survey at The Chesters, Drem as part of an ongoing field school. The eastern ramparted area was close contour surveyed, revealing an accurate topographical plan, and the entire area of the site was subjected to erosion survey, providing a damage assessment to be utilised for further management plans.
(4)-(5) In March 2014, Rampart Scotland undertook a final phase of erosion and topographic survey at Chesters hillfort as a continuation of three previous seasons of survey work to monitor the impact of gorse removal on the site in 2010. The work aims to provide a damage assessment to be utilised for further management plans, and was undertaken with volunteers and students as part of a series of training sessions.
- For more information contact: East Lothian Council HER
- Related Interventions:
- Related Places:
- Associated Periods:
- Bibliographic reference: Baldwin, J. 1997. Edinburgh, Lothians and the Borders, 2nd edition. 192. No. 101.
- Bibliographic reference: Baldwin, J R. 1985. Exploring Scotland's heritage: Lothian and the Borders. 153, no. 92.
- Bibliographic reference: Feachem, R W. 1963b. A guide to prehistoric Scotland, 1st edition. 119.
- Unpublished document: Connolly, D & Cook, M. 2012. The Chesters, Drem, East Lothian. Erosion and Topographic Survey. Rampart Scotland Project 002: Season 3.
- Bibliographic reference: RCAHMS. 1924. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Eighth report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of East Lothian. 9-10, No.13. Plan, fig.47.
- Bibliographic reference: Halliday, S P. 2002. 'Settlement, territory and landscapes: the later prehistoric landscape in the light of the "Survey of Eastern Dumfriesshire" ', Trans Dumfriesshire Galloway Natur Hist Antiq Soc (3rd) Vol. 76 2002, p.91-106. ???
- Bibliographic reference: Armit, I. 1998i. Scotland's hidden history. 81-2. Fig 47.
- Bibliographic reference: Armit and Ralston, I and I B M. 2003. 'The Iron Age', 2nd edition, p.169-95. 189.
- Bibliographic reference: Hanson and Maxwell, W S and G S. 1983b. Rome's north west frontier: The Antonine Wall. 9. Pl. 1.1.
- Bibliographic reference: Yates, M J. 1976b. 'The Chesters Fort, Discovery Excav Scot 1976, p.32-3. 32-3.
- Article in serial: Historic Scotland. 2008. Jewels from the East.
- (1) Unpublished document: Hawkins, I. 2011. Geophysical survey of two sites adjacent to Chesters Hill Fort, Drem.
- (2) Unpublished document: Armit, I, Gaffney, C, Sparrow, T & Pope-Carter, F. 2013. Dynamics of an Iron Age Landscape: Geophysical and Topographic Survey at The Chesters, Drem, 2012.
- (3) Unpublished document: Connolly, D & Cook, M. 2012. The Chesters, Drem: Erosion and Topographic Survey.
- (4) Unpublished document: Cook, M & Connolly, D. 2014. The Chesters, Drem, East Lothian: Erosion Management Survey, Rampart Scotland Project 002: Season 4.
- (5) Digital archive: Cook, M & Connolly, D. 2014. The Chesters, Drem, East Lothian: Erosion Management Survey, Rampart Scotland Project 002: Season 4.