Ancient Monuments

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Glenacardoch, dun 730m WNW of

A Scheduled Monument in Kintyre and the Islands, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 55.5754 / 55°34'31"N

Longitude: -5.7146 / 5°42'52"W

OS Eastings: 165942

OS Northings: 637567

OS Grid: NR659375

Mapcode National: GBR DF8Z.96H

Mapcode Global: WH0LJ.6405

Entry Name: Glenacardoch, dun 730m WNW of

Scheduled Date: 30 June 1972

Last Amended: 15 March 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3176

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun

Location: Killean and Kilchenzie

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Kintyre and the Islands

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument comprises a prehistoric dun, a coastal defended settlement, likely to date to the Iron Age (between 500 BC and AD 500). It survives as a low, turf-covered, sub-oval wall, which encloses an area of approximately 15m by 10m. The dun occupies the summit of an isolated rock, some 5m in height, which stands on the seashore some 450m S of Glenacardoch Point in west Kintyre. The monument was first scheduled in 1972, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan and is defined by base of the rock outcrop on which the monument is sited. The scheduled area includes the remains described above, an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, and adjoining land essential for the monument's support and preservation, 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 occupies the summit of a substantial rock outcrop on the coastal edge of west Kintyre. The rock itself provides strong natural protection, with sheer or overhanging sides on all but the SSE side, where access can be gained up a steep slope. This was probably where the entrance was sited. The enclosure walling is much reduced, but stands up to 1m high and is 3m wide in places, and can be traced around the summit. The interior is overgrown, but no features are visible. There has been a small landslip on the NE side, which may include occupation material deriving from the dun and its wall.

Overall, the footprint of the monument is intact and it survives in reasonably good condition, despite its exposed coastal location and the effects of a localised landslip. There is high potential for the survival of buried deposits and features beneath and beyond the wall and within the dun interior. Future examination of the dun could provide 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 in this vicinity. The monument has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the nature of Iron Age settlement and the design and development of these small defended settlements.

Contextual characteristics

This type of defended settlement characterises much of the coastal occupation of Argyll and Atlantic Scotland in later prehistory. Duns belong to a much broader category of later prehistoric defended 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 they tend to be located on locally high ground, along prominent coastal routes or within easy reach of the coast, as in this case.

This example is interesting because of its position on top of an isolated rock at the high water mark, where it must have been particularly exposed, both to the elements and to seafarers travelling along this coast. It clearly favours a seaward outlook and was undoubtedly visible from the sea, despite its low altitude. Defence and visibility were evidently primary factors for the selection of this location. The dun may have formed part of a network of similar sites along this coastline, some of which would have been inter-visible: the dun at Dun Ach'na h-Atha, for example, is located less than 2km to the NE, and Dun Sheallaidh less than 3km to the SSE. This monument has high potential to contribute to our understanding of the Iron Age occupation of Kintyre and further afield.

National Importance

This 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



RCAHMS records the site as NR64NE 14. West of Scotland Archaeology Service records the site as WOSASPIN 3031.


RCAHMS 1971, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the ancient monuments: volume 1: Kintyre, p 86, no 213. Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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