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Dun Mhic Laithean,dun,Groatay

A Scheduled Monument in Beinn na Foghla agus Uibhist a Tuath, Na h-Eileanan Siar

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.6469 / 57°38'48"N

Longitude: -7.0673 / 7°4'2"W

OS Eastings: 97793

OS Northings: 873191

OS Grid: NF977731

Mapcode National: GBR 88YH.V16

Mapcode Global: WGW38.D2V4

Entry Name: Dun Mhic Laithean,dun,Groatay

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1993

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5807

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun

Location: North Uist

County: Na h-Eileanan Siar

Electoral Ward: Beinn na Foghla agus Uibhist a Tuath

Traditional County: Inverness-shire

Description

The monument is a dun, a late-prehistoric fortified settlement with later, possibly medieval, building remains, situated on a steep rocky tidal islet to the SW of Groatay.

The dun takes the form of a massive wall, 4m thick and still standing up to 1m high, on the upper part of a rocky tidal islet. This wall is particularly well-preserved to the N and W of the circuit. As this is the most accessible side, it may always have been more substantial here. A gap in the wall just N of W may mark the original entrance.

A later occupation, possibly in the mid 17th century, is attested to by the foundations of a large rectangular building with walls 1.8m thick: the building is 7.2m by 4.8m internally, and stands at the E end of an enclosure some 16m long by 4m wide. Traces of at least three small oval foundations also survive: these resemble shieling

huts but this seems unlikely in this location.

The area to be scheduled is the entire area of the tidal islet above mean high water mark, with maximum dimensions of 65m NW-SE by 50m, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a high-status settlement of the Iron Age and also of the later Medieval period, in a location which emphasises the strongly maritime nature of power along the W coast of Scotland for most of the past. It may contain evidence, accessible to excavation and analysis, relating to Iron Age society and domestic and defensive architecture, and also equivalent evidence for the Medieval period.

Its remote location means that it is unlikely to have been occupied continuously from the Iron Age to the Medieval period, although this possibility cannot be wholly discounted. Neither can the possibility that this site, along with other similar sites in the Uists, may represent a class of dun which is post-prehistoric in origin rather than of the Iron Age date which is customarily assumed.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NF 97 SE 1.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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