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Dun nan Gall Broch, 215m south west of Craigmore, Isle of Mull

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.51 / 56°30'36"N

Longitude: -6.1735 / 6°10'24"W

OS Eastings: 143325

OS Northings: 743136

OS Grid: NM433431

Mapcode National: GBR CC4H.WKR

Mapcode Global: WGZDJ.4MHP

Entry Name: Dun nan Gall Broch, 215m SW of Craigmore, Isle of Mull

Scheduled Date: 19 February 2018

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13687

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: broch

Location: Kilninian and Kilmore/Kilninian and Kilmore

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban South and the Isles

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

The monument is a broch, a complex and substantial stone-built roundhouse dating to the Iron Age (between 600 BC and AD 400).  The monument is visible as a circular stone building with internal galleries and stairs. The broch is situated on the summit of a low rocky knoll at about 3m OD, situated on the shore at Ballygown Bay.

The broch measures about 17.4m in diameter within a dry-stone wall about 3m thick, surviving up to 1.2m above ground level.  Both wall-faces are constructed of neatly coursed blocks. The entrance is situated on the east-southeast quadrant and the entrance passage is 3.2m in length, with door checks located 1.2m into the passage. 

The scheduled area is irregular in shape, includes the remains described above and an area around them 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

This is a well-preserved broch. It retains many of the characteristic features of this monument type including intramural passages, stairs, chambers and a scarcement ledge. The broch was partially excavated by J Hewat Craw sometime in the first half of the 20th century but the results of this exploration were not published. Although the broch has been partly excavated, the site still has high potential to support future archaeological research. There are numerous areas that remain unexcavated where buried structural remains and archaeological deposits are likely to survive. These unexcavated areas will contain deposits rich in occupation debris, artefacts and environmental evidence that can tell us about how people lived, their trade and exchange contacts, and their social status, as well as provide information about broch architecture and construction methods.

Brochs are typically thought to date from the mid first millennium BC through to the early part of the first millennium AD. Broch towers are primarily seen as a specific specialised development of complex Atlantic roundhouses. They were large complex structures that could have accommodated either an extended family or a small community. While there would have been a social hierarchy within this community, the construction of these elaborate towers is often understood in terms of elite settlement. Other interpretations have stressed their likely role as fortified or defensive sites, possibly serving a community across a wider area. Brochs are complex structures likely to have had numerous purposes and a complex role in prehistoric society.

Contextual Characteristics

Brochs are a widespread class of monument found across northern Scotland with notable concentrations in Caithness, Sutherland, Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and the northwest Highlands. This example is one of at least five brochs, which form a local/regional group on the Isle of Mull. The brochs on Mull are located close to, or on, the coast. Dun nan Gall, is notable among the brochs on this island because of its state of preservation and its well defined and complex internal features.

This monument is significant as an upstanding and the one of the best preserved examples of a broch on Mull. Other examples including Dun Aisgain (Canmore ID 21807) 6km west northwest and Dun Bhuirg (scheduled monument reference SM2348, Canmore ID 21997) 17km south.  There is therefore potential for comparative study on a local and national scale to better understand the function of such monuments, their interrelationship and the significance of their placing within the landscape, in particular in relation to our understanding of Iron Age social hierarchy, changing settlement patterns and systems of inheritance.

Associative Characteristics

There are no known associative characteristics which significantly contribute to the cultural significance of this site.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular of Iron Age society on Mull and the function, use and development of brochs. It is a well-preserved example of a broch with surviving elements of the structure and architectural features, with high potential for occupation deposits and associated remains. The broch is a prominent feature in the landscape and adds to our understanding of the siting of such monuments. This in turn can help our understanding of settlement patterns and social structure during the Iron Age on Mull. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the development, use and re-use of brochs, and the nature of Iron Age society, economy and social hierarchy on the western seaboard of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 22058 (accessed on 30/10/2017).

West of Scotland Archaeology Service HER/SMR Reference 533 (accessed on 30/10/2017).

Armit, I. 2003, Towers in the North: the Brochs of Scotland. London.

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.

RCAHMS 1980, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the monuments volume 3: Mull, Tiree, Coll and Northern Argyll (excluding the early medieval and later monuments of Iona). Edinburgh.

Canmore

https://canmore.org.uk/site/22058/

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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