An inhospitable sea stack on the Aberdeenshire coast has been confirmed as the site of the earliest Pictish Fort and pre-dates the iconic Dunnottar Castle, carbon dating has revealed. The sea stack to the south of Stonehaven, known as Dunnicaer, was excavated by archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen in April. With the help of
experienced mountaineers they scaled the rocky outcrop, which measures at most 20 by 12 metres and is surrounded by sheer drops on all side.
Despite its small size, the team led by Dr Gordon Noble, believed it would yield important archaeological finds. Their initial surveys found evidence of ramparts, floors and a hearth and now samples found in the excavation trenches have been carbon dated.
This suggests the site dates from the 3rd or 4th century – making it the oldest Pictish fort ever discovered.