Ancient Monuments

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Carnoch, dun 260m SSW of Croft House

A Scheduled Monument in Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh, Highland

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Latitude: 57.5134 / 57°30'48"N

Longitude: -4.922 / 4°55'19"W

OS Eastings: 225069

OS Northings: 850789

OS Grid: NH250507

Mapcode National: GBR G87V.S75

Mapcode Global: WH2CP.CFD0

Entry Name: Carnoch, dun 260m SSW of Croft House

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1977

Last Amended: 3 October 2017

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3982

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun

Location: Urray

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh

Traditional County: Ross-shire


The monument is a dun, a form of monumental roundhouse, probably dating to the Iron Age (between 600 BC and 400 AD). It is visible as a substantial stone-built enclosure on a glacial mound above the River Meig at about 160m above sea level.

The dun is sub circular in plan with an overall diameter of about 24m with stony banks up to 1m high in places. The bank is between 7 and 9m in width and surrounds a dished centre with internal diameter of around 7m. The bank is 1m in height in the northwest and southeast parts but otherwise lower. Several stony pits are visible around the site which may be evidence of chambers within the stone enclosure.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan to include the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The cultural significance of the monument has been assessed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics

The monument consists of the remains of a substantial dun or monumental roundhouse of Iron Age date, originally of stone and timber construction located on a glacial knoll overlooking the River Meig. It survives in good condition with its plan and parts of the structure intact and largely visible, including the surrounding wall, probable entrance and potential galleries or chambers within the enclosure wall. There are accounts which suggest that the land owner excavated within the dun in the early 20th century and recovered a "brass ring".

These explorations appear to have been limited and there remains good potential for the survival of archaeological deposits, including occupation and abandonment debris, artefacts and environmental remains such as charcoal and pollen within, beneath and around the remains of the dun and enclosure. Additionally, architectural features, such as intermural galleries, cells, and entrance passages are likely to be preserved within the structure of the dun.

Buried archaeological deposits, artefacts and environmental evidence have the potential to add to our understanding of settlement, land-use and environment during later prehistory, and provide information about the economy, diet and social status of the occupants and the structure of contemporary society and economy. Scientific study of the form and construction of the dun has the potential to clarify the date of the remains and the development sequence at this site, and to provide information about the design, construction and development of later prehistoric settlement.

Contextual Characteristics

Carnoch is one of a number of prehistoric settlements constructed along Strathconon including crannogs and duns, for instance, Loch Beannacharain, crannog (SM4003; Canmore ID 12183) 0.7km to the west and Balnacraig, dun 550m W of (SM5472; Canmore ID 12178) 4.4km to the north-east. The proximity of these remains has the potential to enhance and broaden our understanding of prehistoric society and community and the development of later prehistoric settlement and economy. There is potential to study these sites together to understand their functions within the local communities, social status and settlement hierarchy in the area, as well as changing settlement patterns and systems of inheritance.

Duns are often built in strategic locations. Carnoch is built on the edge of a rocky scarp above the River Conon with extensive views along the glen to the east and west. It may have been built here to increase its defensive potential, as a symbol of status or to better control land and movement through the area.

Associative Characteristics

There are no known associative characteristics connected with this monument.

Statement of National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it makes a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular the construction, use and development of settlement in the north of Scotland during the Iron Age. It is a good example of a dun that retains its field characteristics, with proven potential for the survival of archaeological deposits within, beneath and around the upstanding remains. As a well-preserved example of a dun, the monument can significantly expand our understanding of domestic buildings, agriculture and economy. The monument's importance is enhanced by its association with other later prehistoric remains in the vicinity. The loss or damage of the monument would diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the character and development of Iron Age defended settlements, as well as society and economy during this period.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 12179 (accessed on 15/08/2017).

Blundell, F O 1913. Further notes on the artificial islands in the Highland area , in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. 47, 1912-13. Page 280.

MacKie, E W 2007. The Roundhouses, Brochs and Wheelhouses of Atlantic Scotland c.700 BC-AD 500: architecture and material culture, the Northern and Southern Mainland and the Western Islands, BAR British series 444(II), 444(1), 2 V. Oxford.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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