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Dunan an t-Seasgain, dun 465m WNW of Drumyeonmore Farm, Gigha

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.6924 / 55°41'32"N

Longitude: -5.7419 / 5°44'30"W

OS Eastings: 164929

OS Northings: 650676

OS Grid: NR649506

Mapcode National: GBR DF6N.W59

Mapcode Global: WH0KX.R5ZY

Entry Name: Dunan an t-Seasgain, dun 465m WNW of Drumyeonmore Farm, Gigha

Scheduled Date: 30 June 1972

Last Amended: 10 May 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3227

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun

Location: Gigha and Cara

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Kintyre and the Islands

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

The monument comprises a prehistoric dun likely to date to the Iron Age (between 500 BC and AD 500). The dun is visible as a sub-oval enclosure sited on the summit of an isolated rocky knoll in the island of Gigha, at a height of 45m above sea level. Overall the dun measures approximately 35m by 24m. The dun is located inland, towards the centre of the island, but has extensive views over the sea channel E of Gigha and beyond, to the Kintyre peninsula. 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 an irregular polygon on plan, 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, and adjoining land essential for the monument's support and preservation, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling extends up to but does not include the post-and-wire fence to the N of the knoll.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The dun enclosure occupies the summit of a locally distinctive knoll and takes advantage of the natural defence afforded by steep rocky slopes to the N, W and E. Access is relatively easy up a gentler slope from the SW, where the 0.9m wide entrance is situated. The low turf-covered enclosure wall encloses a space approximately 29m N-S by 18m transversely. The wall-line is intact, though reduced to a band of stony debris up to 2.7m wide around much of the circuit, with inner and outer facing stones visible intermittently. In the SW quadrant, however, an impressive 4m length of the outer wall's lower courses is exposed immediately E of the entrance, standing over 1m high; one particularly massive block measures 1.9m in length. The interior is roughly level and largely featureless, except in the NW where the remains of an oval or sub-oval building appear to abut the enclosure wall. In the SE, stones protruding from the inner face may represent the remains of another structure.

Overall, the footprint of the monument is intact and it survives in good condition. There is high potential for the survival of buried deposits and features beneath and beyond the dun wall and within the interior. Future examination of the site 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, development and use of these small defended settlements.

Contextual characteristics

The dun here is a type of defended settlement which characterises much of the coastal occupation of Argyll and Atlantic Scotland in later prehistory. These duns 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. This is a particularly interesting example because of its position among a small cluster of five similar duns on Gigha.

Researchers have suggested that the position of duns is significant for their seaward outlook, their likely intervisibility and their visibility to seafarers. Dunan an t Seasgrain is unusual in being located inland, but it has good seaward views to the E and its position near the centre of the island may indicate that it served more than one family or group. Further study here could investigate the inter-relationships with the other, broadly contemporary strongholds in Gigha and with comparable sites in Islay and Jura and on the Argyll mainland.

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 defended settlements and their place in the wider economy and society. There is high potential for well-preserved archaeological remains to survive on the site and along the SW access route. These buried remains can tell us much about the people who built and lived here 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 historic periods.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

On 23 March 2012 Andrew Fulton wrote to who we believed owned the site. On 25 April we were contacted by the Gigha Heritage Trust, which confirmed their ownership of the site. On 21 May Olwyn Owen and Andrew Fulton visited the site and met with the owner's agent to discuss the rescheduling of this and other sites in Gigha. On 26 June 2012 Andrew Fulton wrote to the owners confirming our intention to proceed with this rescheduling. No issues have been raised.

RCAHMS records the site as NR65SW 5. West of Scotland Archaeology Service records the site as WOSASPIN 3221.

References

RCAHMS 1971, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the ancient monuments: volume 1: Kintyre, Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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