Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Ballygroggan, dun 175m south west of

A Scheduled Monument in South Kintyre, Argyll and Bute

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 55.4078 / 55°24'27"N

Longitude: -5.7591 / 5°45'32"W

OS Eastings: 162131

OS Northings: 619078

OS Grid: NR621190

Mapcode National: IRL WP.WLTP

Mapcode Global: GBR DG5F.0TN

Entry Name: Ballygroggan, dun 175m SW of

Scheduled Date: 17 March 1976

Last Amended: 15 March 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3818

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun

Location: Campbeltown

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: South Kintyre

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument is a prehistoric defended settlement or dun, likely to date from the Iron Age (between 500 BC and AD 500). It survives as a low circular earthwork with a maximum diameter of approximately 25m. The enclosing bank varies in width from 1.8m to 4m and stands to a maximum height of 0.5m above the interior. The enclosed area is about 13.5m in diameter. The dun sits at around 115m above sea level and overlooks Machrihanish Bay. It is located on a N-facing spur part of the way down a hillside that slopes gently down to the sea from Skerry Fell Fad to the ESE. The monument was first scheduled in 1976, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, measuring 40m in diameter, to include 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. The monument excludes the fence which lies immediately S and SE of the scheduled area.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The overall footprint of the monument is intact and, although the remains are slight, it survives in reasonably good condition in rough grazing land. The dun survives as a low grass-covered bank enclosing a roughly circular space. It is easily accessible from the S and W, but there are steeper slopes to the N and E. There are breaks in the enclosing bank in the SW and E sides, at least one of which may represent the site of an entrance. The interior is uneven and poorly drained in places, especially in the NE quadrant where the surface is obscured by marsh grasses and flag iris. Researchers have previously recorded the remains of a secondary rectangular structure in the SW quadrant of the interior, which is no longer visible.

Despite its slight appearance today, there is good potential for the survival of archaeological material both within and immediately around the dun. Future examination of the dun could provide detailed information about its date and form, how it was built and used, and how this may have changed over time. Buried artefacts and palaeoenvironmental evidence may survive that can tell us about how people lived and worked, the extent and nature of trade and exchange, and the nature of agricultural land-use and climate at the time. The poor drainage of the site may have allowed the survival of waterlogged and rare palaeoenvironmental remains, such as wood and other plant material. The monument therefore has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the nature of Iron Age settlement in Argyll and the design and development of these small defended enclosures.

Contextual characteristics

This is an example of a widespread type of defended settlement characterising much of the coastal occupation of Argyll and Atlantic Scotland in later prehistory. It belongs 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, as in this case.

Researchers have suggested that the visibility of duns from the sea, and the inter-visibility between duns and other broadly contemporary sites, were important factors in the choice of location. This seems to be the case here since this dun has a commanding view over lower land to the N, and across the neck of land between Machrihanish Bay to the W and Campbeltown Loch to the E. Interestingly, there is another dun only 540m to the SSW and the relationship between the two, and with duns elsewhere in the area and along this coastline, would be an important area for further research. It is notable that neither of the Ballygroggan duns occupies a naturally defensive site, which suggests that defence may not have been the most significant concern to the builders and inhabitants of both duns.

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, 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, including possibly waterlogged remains. 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 and western Scotland in the later prehistoric and early historic periods.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the site as NR61NW 2. West of Scotland Archaeology Service records the site as WOSASPIN 2935.


RCAHMS 1975, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the ancient monuments: volume 1: Kintyre, p 78, no 181. Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.