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Date 12 August 2020

Event ID 1102076

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Note


A description of what may have been a prehistoric dun at ‘Livilands’ (Maclagan 1873, 33) has led to some debate over its precise location and character. Although they did not locate the remains, both OS (1950) and RCAHMS (1963, No. 81) preferred the hilltop site at Easter Livilands (centre NS 800 916), classifying the site as an Iron Age fort on the basis of its ‘three circular walls’, while the term dun was preferred in a later list (RCAHMS 1979, No. 163).

In 2008, the chance discovery of an unfinished Iron Age rotary quern (NS79NE 1000) at Westerlands, formerly Wester Livilands (NS 7981 9225), some 620m NNW of Easter Livilands, led to the suggestion that the dun may have been located there (DES 2008, 173-4). This theory was tested further by excavation both to the E and SW of Westerlands in 2016 and 2017 (Cook and McCormick, Data Structure Reports; DES 2017, 190). The excavation did not produce any firm evidence for an Iron Age structure.

In practice the classification, date and location of Maclagan’s discovery remain unclear, although an unusual earthwork feature with three banks that is depicted immediately to the E of Wester Livilands (now Westerlands) on the 1st edition of the OS 25-inch map (at NS 7984 9238) may provide some clue (Stirlingshire 1898 (surveyed 1859-60), sheet xvii.7), and would likely have drawn the attention of an antiquarian. Excavations by Cook and McCormick in 2016 suggested this was a garden feature, but this conclusion does not preclude the possibility that it is Maclagan’s ‘three circular walls’.

In light of this re-assessment the location of the dun has been updated to NS c. 798 923, and the site re-assigned from map sheet NS89SW to NS79SE.

Information from HES Survey and Recording (GFG), 12 August 2020.

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