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Park, dun 350m north of

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.5573 / 56°33'26"N

Longitude: -5.4387 / 5°26'19"W

OS Eastings: 188776

OS Northings: 745889

OS Grid: NM887458

Mapcode National: GBR DCYD.3L0

Mapcode Global: WH0FT.FFDX

Entry Name: Park, dun 350m N of

Scheduled Date: 9 January 1979

Last Amended: 19 March 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4199

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

Description

The monument is a prehistoric defended settlement or dun, likely to date from the Iron Age (between 500 BC and AD 500). It comprises a sub-oval enclosure measuring around 15m long by 13m wide overall. It survives as a low earthwork on the summit of a low knoll, in an area of rough grazing. It is located near the N end of the island of Lismore, at approximately 30m above sea level, overlooking Loch Linnhe. The monument was first scheduled in 1979, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, 25m in diameter centred on the dun, 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.

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 a low, sub-oval enclosure on the summit of a low rounded knoll. The wall is spread to 3m wide on average and stands up to 0.4m high. A 2.5m wide break in the NNE arc of the enclosing wall probably marks the site of the entrance. Internally, the dun measures about 8.2m by 6.4m. There may have been two separate areas within the dun originally; the S end is slightly lower than the N, with the suggestion of some form of demarcation across the interior.

The overall footprint of the monument is intact and it survives in reasonably good condition, although the enclosing wall is much reduced. Recent small-scale excavations have revealed important archaeological material, demonstrating the potential for the survival of additional evidence both within and around the dun. The fragmentary remains of the enclosing wall were revealed, overlain by its rubble collapse. Environmental evidence indicated that the dun was built in an area then covered by scrub woodland. A well-preserved rotary quern probably dating from the early centuries AD was found built into the enclosing wall and a sheep or goat's jawbone recovered from beneath it.

Future examination of the dun could provide detailed information about its date and form, how it was used and how it 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 agricultural land-use and climate at the time. 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 is a small example of a widespread type of defended settlement characterising 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. 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.

This is the northernmost of the group of duns on Lismore, and it overlooks the seaward approach to the island from Loch Linnhe to the N and W. The low knoll on which it sits is the highest point in the immediate area, but this is not a naturally defensive site (unlike the other dun locations on the island). This may confirm the results of recent archaeological research on Lismore, which considered the spatial significance of the island's duns and concluded that intervisibility between the duns was an important factor in their siting, together with their visibility from the sea. This is not a particularly impressive dun, but it has high value as one of a small group of potentially related monuments in an island setting. Park dun is probably also broadly contemporary with the substantial broch at Tirefour and a possible broch at Loch Fiart.

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 proven potential for well-preserved archaeological remains to survive 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 importance of the dun is enhanced because it is one of a small group of potentially related monuments in an island setting. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the occupation of Lismore and Argyll in the later prehistoric and early historic periods.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the site as CANMORE database reference 23079. West of Scotland Archaeology Service records the site as WOSASPIN 1268.

References

RCAHMS 1975, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the ancient monuments: volume 2: Lorn, p 92, no 191. Edinburgh.

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

Stoddart, S, 2003, Lismore: Preliminary GIS work. [Draft] Circulated typescript report.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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