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Dun an Fheurain, fort, 550m south of Ardalanish, Mull

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.287 / 56°17'13"N

Longitude: -6.2508 / 6°15'2"W

OS Eastings: 137036

OS Northings: 718630

OS Grid: NM370186

Mapcode National: GBR BDY3.3MP

Mapcode Global: WGYDH.Y7LM

Entry Name: Dun an Fheurain, fort, 550m S of Ardalanish, Mull

Scheduled Date: 26 February 2003

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7765

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

Description

The monument comprises a fort of prehistoric date, visible as upstanding remains.

The monument is situated on the summit of an isolated headland overlooking the western shore of Ardalanish Bay at 10-30m OD. The higher, north-eastern end of the headland is bounded by sheer cliffs rising to a maximum height of 27.5m, which render the site virtually impregnable except from the SW, where there is a relatively easy approach to the summit over a series of sloping rocky shelves.

The fort measures c. 65m by 15m within a wall which encloses both the summit-knoll at the NE end and also nearly half of the lower SW portion of the headland. The wall now appears for the most part as a band of rubble in which both inner and outer faces are exposed intermittently, except on the N side where no traces survive.

On the NE, where best preserved the outer face is still standing to a height of some 2m in ten thin courses. The entrance, on the WNW, is about 1.5m wide. Here the wall is 3.7m thick, decreasing to about 2.5m as it runs southwards to cross the head of a natural gully.

Below the level of the fort wall to the SW there is an outwork consisting of a single wall which borders almost all the remainder of the lower, south-western part of the headland. Traces of it are now visible only on the S and SW, but originally it must have sprung from the fort wall on the W and S to enclose an area measuring about 18.3m by 15.3m.

Where exposed on the S, the outer face stands to a height of 1.2m in seven courses, with a pronounced inward batter. At the entrance, on the SW, where parts of both faces survive, the wall has a thickness of about 1.8m, and an unusual feature of the passage is that its S side is defined by a single enormous boulder, measuring 1.6m by 0.9m in height.

A short stretch of narrow wall, now ruinous, which lies N of the fort entrance, probably represents a comparatively recent construction built to prevent stock from straying too near the cliff edge.

Forts of this type are characteristic of the Iron Age (c.500 BC - AD 500). The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material is likely to survive. It is irregular in shape, with maximum dimensions of 115m NE-SW by 49m transversely, as marked in red on the accompanying map. Part of the northern boundary is marked by a modern fenceline, which is excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance because it is a well-preserved example of a later prehistoric fort (or enclosed settlement) of a type characteristic to western Scotland, which has the potential to increase considerably our understanding of later prehistoric domestic life and defensive architecture.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NM31NE 4.

References:

ORDNANCE SURVEY NAME BOOK, Original Name Books of the Ordnance Survey, Book No. 77, 184.

RCAHMS (1980) ARGYLL: AN INVENTORY OF THE MONUMENTS VOLUME 3: MULL, TIREE, COLL AND NORTHERN ARGYLL (EXCLUDING THE EARLY MEDIEVAL AND LATER MONUMENTS OF IONA, Edinburgh: HMSO, 74-5, No. 129.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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