Ancient Monuments

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An Dunan, dun 50m south east of 10 Campbell Crescent, Oban

A Scheduled Monument in Oban South and the Isles, Argyll and Bute

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.4067 / 56°24'24"N

Longitude: -5.4661 / 5°27'57"W

OS Eastings: 186244

OS Northings: 729219

OS Grid: NM862292

Mapcode National: GBR DCWS.H01

Mapcode Global: WH0GL.07CD

Entry Name: An Dunan, dun 50m SE of 10 Campbell Crescent, Oban

Scheduled Date: 7 December 1978

Last Amended: 15 August 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4152

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun

Location: Kilmore and Kilbride

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban South and the Isles

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

The monument is a prehistoric dun, a defended enclosure likely to date to the Iron Age (between 500 BC and AD 500). It is visible as a low, turf-covered bank of wall debris enclosing an oval area at the W end (the summit) of an elongated rocky ridge. A steep rock-face, some 11m in height, affords strong natural protection on all sides except the ENE, where there is relatively easy access up a gentle grassy slope. The interior of the dun measures approximately 18.5m NE-SW by 12.5m transversely. The enclosing wall follows the edge of the summit area, but is now much reduced. The dun sits at 20m above sea level. The monument was first scheduled in 1978, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is irregular 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.

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is in a stable and relatively good condition despite clear evidence of the removal of material from the wall. The dun takes advantage of the steep-sided outcrop on which it sits for its natural defence. Access is likely to have been from the ENE up a gentle grassy slope and researchers think the most likely position of the entrance was in the NE. The enclosing wall which runs around the edge of the summit comprises a bank of rubble debris and a robber trench, which probably indicates the line of an outer face. For most of its length the bank of wall debris is approximately 1.5m wide, but in the NE arc it is over 4m wide. The collapsed wall is likely to seal occupation and structural debris below ground, but the interior is obscured by scrub and rough grass and there are no visible remains of buildings or other internal features.

There is good potential here 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 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 defended enclosures.

Contextual characteristics

This type of defended settlement characterises much of the coastal occupation of Argyll and Atlantic Scotland in later prehistory. It belongs 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. In the Oban area alone, from Loch Feochan in the SSW to the entrance to Loch Etive in the NE, and up to 5km inland, some 25 confirmed and possible forts and duns have been recorded. This is a significant local distribution and emphasises the importance of the likely interconnections between these monuments, as well as the significance of this area of land and coastline to its later prehistoric inhabitants. This example is particularly interesting because of its coastal position at a junction between the Sound of Mull, Loch Linnhe and the Firth of Lorn. Researchers think that such monuments were deliberately meant to be seen both from land and sea and, in many cases, they were built to be inter-visible with each other, as in this case: another fort is sited only some 800m to the NE, at Glencruitten golf course.

It is believed that duns represent the remains of living spaces of small groups or single families. The study of these monuments, and specifically the duns and forts in this vicinity, has high potential to enhance our understanding of their dating and duration of use, as well as of the settlement pattern and the use of defensive sites in later prehistory. It can help us to understand much about the Iron Age occupation of Kintyre and further afield.

Associative characteristics

The site was recognised as a 'Fort' on the first edition Ordnance Survey map in the late 18th century, although the term 'fort' normally relates to a larger defended enclosure than the physical remains represented here.

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 to survive within and immediately outside the dun. These buried remains can tell us much about the people who built and lived in the dun 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 owner and on 9 May 2012 Richard Heawood, John Malcolm and Miriam McIver visited and recorded the monument, and met the occupier. On 27 and 28 June Andrew Fulton and Richard Heawood wrote to the owner and occupier respectively, indicating our intention to progress this rescheduling.

RCAHMS records the site as NM82NE 10. The West of Scotland Archaeology Service SMR reference is 1074.

References

Robinson, M R, 1996, The archaeology and landscape history of the Oban region, Argyll, Scotland [= Circulated typescript PhD thesis]. University of Edinburgh.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, 1975, Argyll: an inventory of the monuments, volume 2: Lorn, p 77, no 148. Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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