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Kilkeddan, dun 850m west of

A Scheduled Monument in South Kintyre, Argyll and Bute

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.4777 / 55°28'39"N

Longitude: -5.5635 / 5°33'48"W

OS Eastings: 174908

OS Northings: 626209

OS Grid: NR749262

Mapcode National: GBR DGN7.6DZ

Mapcode Global: WH0LZ.HLY1

Entry Name: Kilkeddan, dun 850m W of

Scheduled Date: 29 December 1971

Last Amended: 10 May 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3109

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cupmarks or cup-and-ring m

Location: Campbeltown

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: South Kintyre

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The dun occupies relatively level ground on a discrete spur above Glenlussa Water. It survives as a low turf-covered enclosure wall, and large boulders have been used in its construction in places. The interior is overgrown and no features are visible other than the remains of the later settlement.

The later settlement is visible as a series of low turf-covered wall courses, banks and hollows, representing at least three separate buildings, a corn-drying kiln and ancillary structures. The westernmost building is aligned roughly E-W and at least 20m long; earlier survey suggests it was sub-divided into four conjoined rooms or compartments, The building straddles the W side of the dun wall and probably re-used materials from the dun in its construction. To its N, and abutting the NW arc of the dun, is a narrow linear feature, possibly a boundary wall. Within the NE arc of the dun are the complex remains of various structures, including a larger building with at least two rooms and an arc of narrow walling. Immediately E of the dun is a further group of rectangular structures, similar to those within the dun, and SE of the dun is a U-shaped wall fragment. The remains of a corn-drying kiln lie immediately S of the S wall of the dun.

An earthfast boulder measuring 1.2m by 0.8m is recorded as bearing at least three and possibly as many as eight shallow depressions, thought to be the remains of peck-marked cups and likely to be Neolithic or later in origin. The boulder lies SW of the dun enclosure, but is now obscured by vegetation.

The overall footprint of the dun and later settlement is intact and the monument is in reasonable condition. There is good potential for the survival of buried deposits and features beneath and beyond the dun wall relating to its construction and use, despite the construction of the later settlement. There is also good potential for the survival of features and deposits relating to use of the later settlement. The lower courses of the later buildings are mostly intact and buried deposits around these remains are likely to retain evidence of the agricultural basis of the settlement, the functions of different structures, and details of the vernacular architecture. For both the dun and the later settlement, buried layers are likely to include important palaeoenvironmental evidence which can contribute to our understanding of the climate and environment in the Iron Age and post-medieval period, including changes in land-use during and between the periods when the site was occupied. Future investigation could provide important information about the date, form and construction of the various structures, and elucidate similarities and differences in settlement and daily life between the prehistoric and historic periods. The presence of the cup-marked rock provides additional time-depth for the site overall and has intrinsic value as an insight into the art and beliefs of some of the early peoples of Scotland.

Contextual characteristics

The dun is a type of defended settlement which characterises much of the coastal occupation of Argyll and Atlantic Scotland in later prehistory. 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. They are largely a coastal phenomenon and tend to be sited on rock outcrops or knolls which afforded strong natural protection, along prominent coastal routes or within easy reach of the coast. Kilkeddan is on a lower knoll than usual, but it has the advantage of long views to the SE from within its defensive wall. It may have been a component of a wider network of duns, some of them inter-visible. It is positioned on one of the few natural land routes across the Kintyre peninsula, from Tangy Glen in the W to Ardnacross Bay in the E.

Kilkeddan dun is part of a much larger complex of prehistoric sites clustered along this route, including settlements, burial and ceremonial monuments. This immediate vicinity has produced not only the remains of the cup-marked boulder and Iron Age dun, but also a 'great many stone coffins ' with urns in them', clearly prehistoric burials in stone cists (earlier in date than the dun). The cists were found in two locations, the first about 800m W of Kilkeddan farmhouse, and the second some 400m SE of the first group. The pottery urns have not been preserved.

The significance of this particular site is enhanced by its reuse in the later historic period. The post-medieval settlement continues the story of land-use and occupation in a single location by a relatively small community. Overall, the monument has high potential to contribute to our understanding of early prehistoric, Iron Age and post-medieval occupation of Kintyre and further afield.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The dun occupies relatively level ground on a discrete spur above Glenlussa Water. It survives as a low turf-covered enclosure wall, and large boulders have been used in its construction in places. The interior is overgrown and no features are visible other than the remains of the later settlement.

The later settlement is visible as a series of low turf-covered wall courses, banks and hollows, representing at least three separate buildings, a corn-drying kiln and ancillary structures. The westernmost building is aligned roughly E-W and at least 20m long; earlier survey suggests it was sub-divided into four conjoined rooms or compartments, The building straddles the W side of the dun wall and probably re-used materials from the dun in its construction. To its N, and abutting the NW arc of the dun, is a narrow linear feature, possibly a boundary wall. Within the NE arc of the dun are the complex remains of various structures, including a larger building with at least two rooms and an arc of narrow walling. Immediately E of the dun is a further group of rectangular structures, similar to those within the dun, and SE of the dun is a U-shaped wall fragment. The remains of a corn-drying kiln lie immediately S of the S wall of the dun.

An earthfast boulder measuring 1.2m by 0.8m is recorded as bearing at least three and possibly as many as eight shallow depressions, thought to be the remains of peck-marked cups and likely to be Neolithic or later in origin. The boulder lies SW of the dun enclosure, but is now obscured by vegetation.

The overall footprint of the dun and later settlement is intact and the monument is in reasonable condition. There is good potential for the survival of buried deposits and features beneath and beyond the dun wall relating to its construction and use, despite the construction of the later settlement. There is also good potential for the survival of features and deposits relating to use of the later settlement. The lower courses of the later buildings are mostly intact and buried deposits around these remains are likely to retain evidence of the agricultural basis of the settlement, the functions of different structures, and details of the vernacular architecture. For both the dun and the later settlement, buried layers are likely to include important palaeoenvironmental evidence which can contribute to our understanding of the climate and environment in the Iron Age and post-medieval period, including changes in land-use during and between the periods when the site was occupied. Future investigation could provide important information about the date, form and construction of the various structures, and elucidate similarities and differences in settlement and daily life between the prehistoric and historic periods. The presence of the cup-marked rock provides additional time-depth for the site overall and has intrinsic value as an insight into the art and beliefs of some of the early peoples of Scotland.

Contextual characteristics

The dun is a type of defended settlement which characterises much of the coastal occupation of Argyll and Atlantic Scotland in later prehistory. 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. They are largely a coastal phenomenon and tend to be sited on rock outcrops or knolls which afforded strong natural protection, along prominent coastal routes or within easy reach of the coast. Kilkeddan is on a lower knoll than usual, but it has the advantage of long views to the SE from within its defensive wall. It may have been a component of a wider network of duns, some of them inter-visible. It is positioned on one of the few natural land routes across the Kintyre peninsula, from Tangy Glen in the W to Ardnacross Bay in the E.

Kilkeddan dun is part of a much larger complex of prehistoric sites clustered along this route, including settlements, burial and ceremonial monuments. This immediate vicinity has produced not only the remains of the cup-marked boulder and Iron Age dun, but also a 'great many stone coffins ' with urns in them', clearly prehistoric burials in stone cists (earlier in date than the dun). The cists were found in two locations, the first about 800m W of Kilkeddan farmhouse, and the second some 400m SE of the first group. The pottery urns have not been preserved.

The significance of this particular site is enhanced by its reuse in the later historic period. The post-medieval settlement continues the story of land-use and occupation in a single location by a relatively small community. Overall, the monument has high potential to contribute to our understanding of early prehistoric, Iron Age and post-medieval 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, of prehistoric rock art, the design and construction of later prehistoric defended settlements and their place in the wider economy and society, and the nature and agricultural basis of post-medieval settlement in this area. There is good potential for well-preserved archaeological remains to survive across the site. 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

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 90, no 221; p 60, no 117(5); p 54, no 74(1). Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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