Dun Guaidhre, Islay

Fort

Site Name Dun Guaidhre, Islay

Classification Fort

Alternative Name(s) Dun Guaire; Kilmeny

Canmore ID 37745

Site Number NR36SE 9

NGR NR 3892 6483

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Killarow And Kilmeny
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR36SE 9 3892 6483

(NR 3892 6482) Dun Guaidhre (NR)

(Fort) (NR)

OS 6" map, Argyllshire, 2nd ed., (1900).

Dun Guaidhre [NAT]

Fort [NR]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1981.

(Central Islay). Dun Ghuaidre, Kilmeny. An isolated eminence rising to just over 300ft [91.5m] above OD from cultivated fields, is entirely encircled by a massive-built stone wall enclosing an oval or subrectangular area 110ft [33.5m] by 54ft [16.5m]. In the centre is a square stone foundation about 10ft [3m] square. On the S the rock falls away sheer. On the other sides there are two ditches cut in the rock defending the slope. The entrance is at the SE corner, where a narrow causeway has been left between the cliff and the ends of the ditches.

(This monument is 'closely allied in structure and stituation' to [nearby] Dun Guiadhre [NR36SE 9: Childe no. 9], both standing 'close to good agricultural land').

V G Childe 1935 (no. 13).

Dun Guaidre: An isolated eminence rising just over 300ft OD is entirely encircled by a massive stone wall, enclosing an oval or subrectangular area 110ft by 54ft. In the centre is a stone foundation about 10ft square. (Newall notes a corn kiln, 6ft in diameter at NR 389 648 but of (M) 3 & 4). The rock face is sheer on the S, the other sides are defended by two rock-cut ditches. The entrance is in the SE, where a narrow causeway has been left between the cliff and the ends of the ditches.

V G Childe 1935; F Newall 1969.

Dun Guaidhre is generally as described above. The fort wall has been robbed and survives only to 0.3m in internal height. The outer defences comprise three ramparts and ditches surviving untouched in the SW, but elsewhere the ramparts have mostly been levelled giving a terraced profile. The outer rampart has been destroyed in the N and NE. The citadel and inner rampart are entered from the east, the second rampart from the north. The stone foundation within the citadel abutts the south side. It measures 7.6m by 5.0m within a turf covered stone wall spread to 1.5m. Presumably it considerably post-dates the fort.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (J B), 10 June 1978.

This fort stands on a prominent isolated ridge 490m SSW of Kilmeny farmhouse; like others in the vicinity, the ridge is

aligned NE-SW, with rock faces forming much of the SE side and SW end, and rises about 19m above the adjacent rough pasture.

The defences comprise a wall (A on the RCAHMS published plan), built round the perimeter of the summit, and three ramparts (B-D on RCAHMS plan) ranged in tiers down the NW side and the two ends. Wall A encloses an area measuring 34m by 17m; it has been heavily robbed and, except for a few outer facing-stones, little can be seen. Along the SE side, however, there is a thin spread of stony debris, and at one point where the core material is exposed, it consists of rubble and soil and indicates that the wall was originally a substantial structure. The entrance is on the ENE, and the interior has been under cultivation at some stone enclosure probably associated with recent field boundaries which overlie the fort in several places.

The three ramparts and their two quarry-ditches are best preserved where they cut across the sw end of the ridge. Set some 3m below the level of the summit, rampart B has been reduced to a terrace 5m wide, with its forward edge formed by a scarp falling 3.3m to the inner ditch, which is 1.7m deep. A narrow berm separates the inner ditch from rampart C, which stands 1.1m high internally and 3.2m above the bottom of the outer ditch. Rampart D appears never to have been as large as the other two, and there is no sign of a ditch outside it; it rises 2.1m above the outer ditch but only

0.5m externally. Along the NW side and round the NE end, the ramparts have been reduced or levelled, and the ditches largely filled, by ploughing. The entrances through ramparts B and C are situated on the N and NNE respectively. The steepness of the SE flank of the ridge rendered unnecessary any defence other than that provided by wall A.

RCAHMS 1984, visited June 1979.

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