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Dun na Muirgheidh, fort

A Scheduled Monument in Oban South and the Isles, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.334 / 56°20'2"N

Longitude: -6.1873 / 6°11'14"W

OS Eastings: 141283

OS Northings: 723613

OS Grid: NM412236

Mapcode National: GBR CC3Z.8QS

Mapcode Global: WGYDB.X2V3

Entry Name: Dun na Muirgheidh, fort

Scheduled Date: 11 November 2003

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10627

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill and promontory fort)

Location: Kilfinichen and Kilvickeon

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban South and the Isles

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument comprises a fort of prehistoric date, visible as upstanding structural remains, with the remains of buildings suggesting later reuse.

The monument is situated on a rocky promontory which projects into a small bay near the mouth of Loch Scridain at about 10m O.D. From the S the approach is comparatively easy, but the E and W flanks of the promontory develop into sheer rock-faces, rising to a maximum height of 9.5m above the shore on the NNW.

The fort measures c. 30m by 21m internally. The defences comprise four walls, the innermost follows the summit of the promontory, with the others lying to the S. The innermost rampart is a massive structure, and long stretches of the outer face survive round the S half of its circuit, standing at best to a height of 1.5m in seven courses.

At the entrance, on the S, the wall attains its greatest thickness of 5.2m, but some 10m to the E, the only other point where an accurate measurement can be taken, it has decreased to 3.5m, probably the width that was maintained for the rest of its course. The remains of the wall diminish progressively along the E and W sides, and all traces have disappeared at the NW tip.

Two constructional phases are clearly visible at the entrance: in the first phase the passage measures 2.3m in width at its outer end but increases to a width of 2.7m at a point 2.7m from the outside, where it was checked for a door, beyond which the width decreased slightly. Behind the check the mouth of a bar-hole can be seen in the E side wall, with a corresponding recess in the opposite side of the passage.

In the second phase a reducing-wall was built against the E side-wall, thereby decreasing the width of the passage to 1.2m externally and to 1.5m inward from the check; the original bar-hole and socket remained in use. The quality of this second-phase masonry is noticeably inferior to that of the original. The interior contains the dry-stone foundations of two sub-rectangular buildings, which are probably of late medieval date.

The second line of rampart springs from the outer face of the innermost wall c. 6m E of the entrance, and runs in a gentle curve along a natural terrace some 3m below the level of the summit before ending abruptly on the tip of a bare spine of rock. It is of massive construction and varies in thickness between 2.7m and 3.7m. It survives to a maximum height of 1.2m in three courses at the entrance, which is in line with the entrance through the innermost wall. The original entrance was subsequently blocked with carefully-laid dry-stone masonry.

A third rampart runs across almost level ground at the base of the promontory some 8m outside, and c. 3.5m below the second wall-line. It measures 2.4m in average thickness, and some massive boulders have been used as facing-stones, the outer face standing up to 1.2m high in four courses, with the rubble core rising to c. 1.7m in height. The approximate position of the entrance is indicated by the gap shown on the plan W of the modern wall.

Only a short stretch of the outermost wall remains visible, lying on the W side of the modern wall. It consists of a grass-grown stony bank, not more than 0.5m high, faced on either side with boulders, indicating a thickness of 2.4m. All other traces have been obliterated by stone-robbing, probably carried out in connection with the construction of two adjacent sub-rectangular buildings, similar in character to those within the fort. These buildings may be of late medieval date and indicate a later reuse of the site.

Forts of this type are characteristic of the Iron Age.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found. It is irregular in shape, with maximum dimensions of 90m NW-SE by 60m NE-SW, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. The above ground components of the modern field boundaries are excluded from the schedule.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as it represents a well-preserved and complex example of a prehistoric defended site, offering the potential to contribute to an understanding of prehistoric defended settlement and economy. Its importance is increased by its proximity to other monuments of potentially contemporary date. The presence of later structures within and adjacent to the site offers the potential to relate distinct periods of use of the site.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NM42SW 2.



Photographic references:

RCAHMS 1977 AG/7928.

RCAHMS 1977 AG/7929.

RCAHMS 1977 AG/9732.

RCAHMS 1977 AG/7933.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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