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Dun Putechantuy, dun, Kintyre

A Scheduled Monument in South Kintyre, Argyll and Bute

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.5205 / 55°31'13"N

Longitude: -5.7132 / 5°42'47"W

OS Eastings: 165705

OS Northings: 631462

OS Grid: NR657314

Mapcode National: GBR DG83.XGN

Mapcode Global: WH0LQ.6HPR

Entry Name: Dun Putechantuy, dun, Kintyre

Scheduled Date: 30 June 1972

Last Amended: 19 March 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3224

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun

Location: Killean and Kilchenzie

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: South Kintyre

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

The monument comprises a coastal dun, a prehistoric defended settlement likely to date to the Iron Age (between 500 BC and AD 500). It survives as a low, turf-covered irregular-shaped enclosure on a narrow coastal promontory, now separated from its hinterland to the E by a manmade cutting (through which the main road runs: the A83). The dun measures approximately 28m by 17m and survives under rough grass and scrub. The dun is located on the seashore of west Kintyre at 10m above sea level. 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 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.

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The dun occupies the summit of a rock outcrop on the coastal edge of west Kintyre. It has strong natural protection with steep cliffs on its N and W sides and the sea to the immediate W; access is easiest up a gentle slope from the S. The outer wall-facing is visible in places around the perimeter of the dun. The entrance was on the E side, where a gap less than 1m wide is edged by two facing stones. Outside the entrance, fragments of an outer wall may be the remains of an additional defensive outwork. The interior is overgrown and there are no visible traces of structures or other features on the ground surface.

Overall, the footprint of the monument is intact and it survives in reasonably good condition. 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 detailed information about its date, form and construction, and investigation of the interior and possible outwork 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 here. The monument therefore has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the nature of Iron Age settlement and the design and development of these small defended enclosures.

Contextual characteristics

This type of defended settlement characterises much of the coastal occupation of Argyll and Atlantic Scotland in later prehistory. 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 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.

This example is interesting because of its position at the high water mark, immediately adjacent to the sea. As well as having a seaward outlook, it would also have been visible from the sea, despite its low altitude. Sited atop a large and steep rock outcrop, defence was clearly an important consideration in the minds of its builders, but its positioning would also have indicated the presence of a community here to seafarers travelling along the coast. It may have been part of a network of similar sites which survive along the Kintyre coastline, some of which would almost certainly have been intervisible with Dun Putechantuy. These include Bellochantuy dun, some 1200m to the NE, and Killocraw fort and Dun Fhinn, 440m and 825m to the S respectively. This monument therefore has high potential to contribute to our understanding of the Iron Age occupation of Kintyre and further afield.

Associative characteristics

The place-name 'Dun Putechantuy' indicates the presence of a defensive settlement in the vicinity and suggests the site may have been occupied over a long period. The site is identified as a 'fort' on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

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

Sources

Bibliography

On 23 March 2012 Andrew Fulton wrote to the owners informing them about the scheduling assessment. We received no reply and on 21 May 2012 Richard Heawood visited the site and then met with the owner who confirmed ownership of the monument. On 27 June 2012 Richard Heawood wrote to the owner confirming our intention to progress this rescheduling.

RCAHMS records the site as NR63SE 19. West of Scotland Archaeology Service records the site as WOSASPIN 3068.

References

RCAHMS 1971, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the ancient monuments: volume 1: Kintyre, p 92, no 231. Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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