Ancient Monuments

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Dun Mor, dun 195m WSW of Balygrundle

A Scheduled Monument in Oban North and Lorn, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.5024 / 56°30'8"N

Longitude: -5.5159 / 5°30'57"W

OS Eastings: 183719

OS Northings: 740024

OS Grid: NM837400

Mapcode National: GBR DCRJ.J7L

Mapcode Global: WH0FZ.7TMJ

Entry Name: Dun Mor, dun 195m WSW of Balygrundle

Scheduled Date: 23 July 1956

Last Amended: 7 February 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM239

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun

Location: Lismore and Appin

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument comprises a dun, a later prehistoric defended settlement, likely to date to the Iron Age (between around 500 BC and AD 500). It survives as an oval-shaped enclosure on top of a natural knoll, under rough grazing. The dun measures approximately 40m NNE-SSW by 25m transversely, including the spread rubble remains of its drystone wall which are visible on the S and W sides only. The monument is located in the island of Lismore, some 700m from its E shore, at 50m above sea level, overlooking the seaward approaches of the Lynn of Lorn and the mainland to the E. The monument was first scheduled in 1956, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan and extends to the base of the rock outcrop on which the monument is sited. The scheduled area includes the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The dun survives as an elongated oval enclosure, defined by a low wall which stands up to 1.5m high externally in places. The wall has a lateral spread of up to 6m which indicates that this was originally a substantial feature. It encloses an oval area measuring around 30m by 15m. Access to the summit is easiest from the W, where a gentle slope approaches the knoll, and the SW, where a natural cleft separates the dun from an adjacent knoll to the S. The enclosing wall, which follows the outline of the summit of the knoll, is clearly visible around the S and W as two low turf-covered arcs. The wall is not visible on the N side, and only a short stretch of coursing survives on the E side, where there are steep drops, but traces of its foundations are likely to survive below ground. A gap in the centre of the W wall is likely to represent the position of the original entrance. The interior ground is uneven and there are no surface traces of internal structures, but it is likely to seal important structural and other rOverall, the footprint of the monument is intact and it survives in reasonably good condition. Despite the relatively slight appearance of the perimeter wall today, there is high potential for the survival of buried deposits and features beneath and beyond the wall, and within the interior. Future examination of the dun could provide detailed information about its date, form and construction, and investigation of the interior could contribute to our understanding of how it was used and how this may have changed over time. Buried artefacts and palaeoenvironmental evidence can contribute to our understanding of how people lived and worked, the extent and nature of trade and exchange, and the nature of the agricultural economy. The monument has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the nature of Iron Age settlement and, specifically, the design and development of these small defensive structures.

Contextual characteristics

This type of defended settlement characterises much of the coastal occupation of Argyll and Atlantic Scotland in later prehistory. There are eight known duns on Lismore and almost 50 in the Lorn area of Argyll. They belong to a much broader category of later prehistoric settlement, which includes brochs, forts, crannogs, duns and hut circles. Altogether, over 500 later prehistoric settlements are known in Argyll. It is believed that duns represent the remains of the living spaces of small groups or single families. They are largely a coastal phenomenon and tend to be located on locally high ground, along prominent coastal routes or within easy reach of the coast.

The duns of Lismore are all sited on rock outcrops and take advantage of the natural prominence and defence they afford. Although some 700m inland, Dun Mor has a seaward outlook over the Lynn of Lorn and E towards the mainland. This, combined with its prominent knoll-top position, suggests that defence and visibility were the chief factors for its location here. Its relationship with the other duns on the island merits further research; it may have formed part of a network of similar sites along the Lismore coast. It is probably also broadly contemporary with the substantial broch at Tirefour and the possible broch at Loch Fiart. Tirefour broch, 4km to the NE, and Sean Dun, 750m to the E, are both visible from the summit of Dun Mor. Together, these various defended sites have high potential to contribute to our understanding of the Iron Age occupation of Lismore and further afield.

National Importance

his monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular, the design and construction of later prehistoric, small defended settlements in western Scotland, and their place in the wider economy and society. There is good potential for well-preserved archaeological remains surviving within and immediately outside the dun. These buried remains can tell us much about the people who built and lived in the settlement and the connections they had with other groups. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the occupation of Argyll in the later prehistoric and early historic periods.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



On 23 March and 10 April 2012 Andrew Fulton wrote to who we believed to be the owners, informing them about the scheduling assessment. We received a reply from Mr Iain MacDonald, confirming his legal title. On 10 May, Andrew Fulton visited the site and discussed the rescheduling with Mr MacDonald. Andrew Fulton then wrote to the owner on 21 June 2012 to confirm our intention to progress this rescheduling. No issues have been raised.

RCAHMS records the site as NM84SW 1. West of Scotland Archaeology Service records the site as WOSASPIN 1293.


RCAHMS 1975, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the ancient monuments: volume 2: Lorn, 88 (no. 178), Edinburgh.

Stoddart, S, 2005, Data Structure report. Version 2.0. Lismore Landscape Project, July-August, 2004. Circulated typescript report.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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