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An Dunan, dun 70m south west of Minen

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.7098 / 55°42'35"N

Longitude: -5.5731 / 5°34'23"W

OS Eastings: 175628

OS Northings: 652049

OS Grid: NR756520

Mapcode National: GBR DFMM.811

Mapcode Global: WH0KT.CRC4

Entry Name: An Dunan, dun 70m SW of Minen

Scheduled Date: 28 June 1972

Last Amended: 10 May 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3184

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun

Location: Kilcalmonell

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). It survives as the remains of a substantial sub-circular enclosure wall occupying the summit of a low knoll. The visible footprint of the monument covers an area approximately 21m in diameter, with the interior measuring around 13.5m by 12m. The monument is located at a height of 115m above sea level on a S-facing slope, to the NE of Ballochroy Glen, in an area of rough grazing. 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, defined in its southern half by the base of the rock outcrop on which the monument is sited and in its northern half by a modern fence line. 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, and adjoining land essential for the monument's support and preservation, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of the post-and-wire fence to the N, to allow for its maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The dun occupies a rocky knoll with steep sides on the E, S, and SW, overlooking the right bank of an unnamed tributary of the Ballochroy Burn. It exploits the natural rock outcrop as its base and in the NE arc of its wall-circuit. Elsewhere the dun is defined by a low sub-circular, turf-covered stone wall, which is over 4m wide in places. A number of outer facing-stones have been reported protruding from the knoll some 1.8m below the summit. There are two breaks in the wall circuit, in the N and E arcs: that in the N is the likely position of the entrance. Several stones of the internal wall-face are visible through the vegetation. In the SE of the interior, a crescent-shaped stony bank is probably secondary; no other features are visible on the uneven surface of the interior. Material from the wall and the occupation of the dun is likely to survive both in buried layers on the knoll and down slope around the southern half of the monument.

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 wall and within the dun interior. Future examination of the dun 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 and development of these small defended settlements.

Contextual characteristics

This dun 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.

Duns are mainly 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 unusual in having an inland position behind a network of duns along the western Kintyre coast. However, it is located on a natural route-way connecting the E and W coasts of Kintyre and has good views over the approaches to the dun. Researchers have suggested that duns did not exist in isolation, but were sited where they would be visible in the landscape and were often inter-visible with other duns or settlements. An Dunan may also have been part of a network of broadly contemporary sites spread across the Kintyre peninsula and with connections to similar strongholds beyond. The monument has good potential to contribute to our understanding of the later prehistoric 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, the design and construction of later prehistoric defended settlements and their place in the wider economy and society. There is good potential for well-preserved archaeological remains to survive within 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 period.

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 91, no 226. Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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