Ancient Monuments

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Dun, enclosure and cairn, 200m west of Barnluasgan

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Argyll, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.0618 / 56°3'42"N

Longitude: -5.5559 / 5°33'21"W

OS Eastings: 178724

OS Northings: 691142

OS Grid: NR787911

Mapcode National: GBR DDNP.PVD

Mapcode Global: WH0J2.MWJT

Entry Name: Dun, enclosure and cairn, 200m W of Barnluasgan

Scheduled Date: 12 December 2001

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10337

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain)

Location: North Knapdale

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Mid Argyll

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument consists of a stone-built dun or prehistoric defensive dwelling, an enclosure and a small cairn, sited on top of a narrow, steep-sided rocky ridge 200m W of Barnluasgan, Knapdale.

The dun consists of a substantial drystone wall enclosing an oval area approximately 25m NE-SW by 12m NW-SE. The wall is up to 2m across and up to three courses of massive stonework can be seen, particularly in the SW. The adjoining enclosure appears to be secondary as it overlies the dun wall in the E and W. It encloses an area approximately 12m by 14m, and the drystone wall is of similar thickness (2m) to that of the dun.

The cairn lies about 5m north of the outer edge of the enclosure wall, on the very edge of the highest part of the ridge, and is approximately 3m in diameter and 1.5m in height. The dun is likely to be of later prehistoric date and, although the enclosure added to it is of uncertain date, it is very similar in size and construction to a group of other sub-circular enclosures lying along the same spine of rock (SAMs 3861, 7265, 3860). These are also thought to be later prehistoric settlements.

The cairn is of unknown date and function, although its position on top of the ridge, some distance away from the nearest cultivable land, makes it unlikely to be an agricultural clearance cairn. A modern drystone wall runs up and over the ridge, crossing the southernmost edge of the dun.

The area lies within forestry, but the main part of the monument has been left clear of trees. The monument is still relatively well-preserved and readily visible.

The area to be scheduled is irregular, measuring 50m along its long axis NNE-SSW, by a maximum of 25m transversely, to include the dun, enclosure and cairn, and an area around in which evidence for their construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a later prehistoric settlement, possibly with several phases of use, which may include a ritual and funerary function. Although partially afforested, it retains considerable potential to provide important information about later prehistoric domestic architecture and, as part of a larger group of settlements along the same spine of land, information about wider settlement patterns and land-use in the area.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NR 79 SE 17.


Campbell, M. and Sandeman, M. (1964) 'Mid Argyll: an archaeological survey', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 95, 40, No. 285.

Christison, D. (1904) 'The forts of Kilmartin, Kilmichael Glassery, and North Knapdale, Argyll', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 38, 237-8.

Ordnance Survey (1867) Object Name Books of the Ordnance Survey, Book No. 24, 14.

RCAHMS (1988) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the monuments volume 6: Mid-Argyll and Cowal, prehistoric and early historic monuments, Edinburgh, 173-4, No. 274 Plan, 174.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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