The Vitrified Forts of Scotland

Throughout the Bronze and the Iron Ages, Europeans have constructed hilltop forts and enclosures made of stone. About two hundred examples of these show signs of intense heat damage. These stone walls were burned at such high temperature that the rocks have partially melted and fused with each other. They are known as vitrified forts, and for the past 250 years they have been a source of mystery for archeologists.

At first, the vitrification was thought to be scars from past battles, except for the curious fact that the vitrification was the only thing holding the stone walls together. None of these vitrified forts contain any cementing material such as mortar or lime. Evidence suggests that the rocks were stacked dry and then set on fire deliberately to fuse them together to one solid block —an extraordinary method of construction.

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Vitrified Forts

An artists impression of Dun Deardail vitrified fort in Glen Nevis. Photo credit:


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