Trusty's Hill Interim Report

During the summer volunteers from Gatehouse assisted with an excavation on Trusty’s Hill just outside Gatehouse. Many more took advantage of the daily guided tours of the site.  An interim report has been published and is available for download here.

From the Interim Report: As part of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, the Society launched the Galloway Picts Project in 2012 in order to recover, for modern analysis, the environmental and dating evidence not recovered in the previous excavation and so enhance understanding of the archaeological context of the inscribed stone at Trusty’s Hill as a means of finding out what Pictish symbols are doing at this small hillfort in Galloway, so far from the Pictish heartlands in the north-east of Scotland, and if the carvings are indeed genuine.
The Galloway Picts Project got underway with a GPS topographic survey of Trusty’s Hill by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), producing for the first time a measured detailed plan of this Scheduled Ancient Monument, necessary preparation for the subsequent excavation to allow accurate recording of the trenches and the features. The topographic survey updates the measured sketch plan that Thomas produced during the previous excavation, providing a modern accurate plan of the site that demonstrates that Trusty’s Hill comprises a fortified citadel around the summit of a craggy hill with a number of lesser enclosures looping out from the summit along lower lying terraces and crags of the hill. It therefore recognisably conforms to the definition of a nuclear fort, a type of fortified, high status settlement that emerged in Scotland in the post-Roman period.
The archaeological excavation was undertaken by 65 volunteers in collaboration with GUARD Archaeology Ltd. A daily guided tour was promoted through posters distributed across the region and further afield, and a project web site,, was set up prior to the excavation and continues to be updated. A total of 184 visitors were given guided tours during the excavation. A further 14 visitors made their way to the site during the subsequent laser scan survey. The artefacts from the excavation were presented and explained to 11 Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland who visited GUARD Archaeology Ltd’s Finds Laboratory on Saturday 9 June, the weekend immediately after the completion of the excavation. The interim results of the excavation were presented at the DGNHAS 150th Anniversary Conference in Dumfries on Saturday 8 September, which was attended by 105 people. The artefacts from the excavation were further presented and explained to 9 members of the public, of all ages, who attended the GUARD Archaeology Office Open Day on Saturday 15 September, a Scottish Archaeology Month Event.

Download the Interim Report