Ancient Monuments

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Dunadd, standing stone 190m ESE of Dunadd Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Argyll, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.0848 / 56°5'5"N

Longitude: -5.4738 / 5°28'25"W

OS Eastings: 183961

OS Northings: 693440

OS Grid: NR839934

Mapcode National: GBR DDVM.RH0

Mapcode Global: WH0J3.WBL5

Entry Name: Dunadd, standing stone 190m ESE of Dunadd Cottage

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1933

Last Amended: 15 March 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM197

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: standing stone

Location: Glassary

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Mid Argyll

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument is a standing stone, likely to date to the third or second millennium BC. The stone is now recumbent and partially turf-covered, although it was recorded as upright in 1867. It measures up to 4.3m in length by 1.8m at its broadest part. The visible maximum thickness of the stone is 0.4m. The stone is located in a level pasture field about 50m to the S of the River Add. The monument was first scheduled in 1933, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, measuring 10m in diameter, centered on the stone. The scheduling includes the stone described above and an area around it within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. Specifically excluded from the scheduling are the above-ground elements of a post-and-wire fence to the W and S to allow for its maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

Although now recumbent, the monument is in good condition and a fine example of a standing stone. There is no evidence to suggest that the stone has been moved from its original location and it is therefore highly likely that important archaeological remains survive below ground in the basal socket of the stone or in the immediate vicinity, including possibly burial deposits, artefacts and environmental material. Considerable effort would have been required to quarry, transport, position and erect a massive stone such as this, which demonstrates that this location was significant to those who erected the monolith and that the erection of standing stones was considered to be an important activity. Overall, the monument has the potential to contribute to our understanding of prehistoric society, ritual and ceremony.

Contextual characteristics

Standing stones are a widespread class of monument across Scotland, with notable concentrations in Dumfries and Galloway, the Western and Northern Isles, Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, Caithness and Argyll, where there are over 90 examples.

Single standing stones are often the surviving remains of more complex stone monuments, either as outliers to or components of stone circles or stone alignments. In Argyll, the majority of standing stones survive as single monoliths.

In many instances, standing stones appear to have been located with reference to the local topography, for example, to take advantage of route-ways or views and to be inter-visible with other broadly contemporary monuments or natural features. They are often visible from great distances, perhaps marking a significant area or territory. Many are located with reference to ritual or burial monuments, such as henges, stone circles, and cairns, indicating that they may have played a part in ceremonial or ritual activities. It has been argued that standing stones were normally sited along observation lines focused on the rising or setting points of the moon or sun on a distant horizon at key dates in the year (for example, winter solstice).

The standing stone at Dunadd is situated on the sand and gravel terraces of the River Add. The river would probably have been an important transport route at least for smaller boats, while the sandy deposits of the River Add and the Kilmartin Burn offer the only significant areas of good agricultural land in the region. As such the area has been a focus of activity since the Neolithic period. There is a dense concentration of funerary and ceremonial monuments in the Kilmartin Glen, including chambered cairns, stone circles and alignments, and cup-and-ring marked rocks. Further study of the prehistoric monuments in this rich archaeological landscape could enhance our understanding of the nature of the inter-relationships between the different types of monument and how they were used, and of the ways in which contemporary society may have used different parts of the landscape.

Associative characteristics

The Ordnance Survey 1st edition map depicts and labels the monument as 'Standing Stone'.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance as a well-preserved example of a type of ceremonial monument dating to the late Neolithic or Bronze Age. It is situated next to an important route-way and forms part of a wider landscape of prehistoric monuments particularly those which appear to have a funerary or ceremonial purpose. The monument has the potential to tell us more about social and ceremonial activities that took place here, as well as the wider belief system of the prehistoric people who used these sites. The loss of this example would significantly impede our ability to understand the nature of early prehistoric settlement, social organisation and ritual activities, both in Argyll and Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the site as NR89SW 25. The West of Scotland Archaeology Service SMR reference is 4171


Campbell, M and Sandeman, M 1964 'Mid Argyll: an archaeological survey', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.95 p. 26, No. 175.

RCAHMS 1988a 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, pp 132-3, no 212(1). Edinburgh.

Ruggles, C L N 1981a 'A critical examination of the megalithic lunar observatories', in Ruggles, C L N and Whittle, A W R (eds) Astronomy and society in Britain during the period 4000-1500 BC, Brit Archaeol Rep, BAR British, vol.88, Oxford p.179.

Ruggles, C L N 1984a Megalithic astronomy: a new archaeological and statistical study of 300 western Scottish sites, Brit Archaeol Rep (British ser), vol 123, Oxford p 161, No. ARG 27.

Thom and Thom, A and A S 1979 'The standing stones in Argyllshire', Glasgow Archaeol J, vol 6 p 7

Thom, A 1971 Megalithic lunar observatories, p 63-4, no. A2/13.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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