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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 648380

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/event/648380

NC10SW 1 1116 0080

(NC 116 0080) Dun Canna (NAT)

Fort (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1971)

The fort of Dun Canna is situated on a promontory, the cliffs along the sides rising to 40' above high water mark. The promontory is connected to the mainland, on which there is an annexe, by a neck of land 37' wide.

The fort is roughly rectangular and measures 140' x 30' within a single massive dry-stone wall of which the debris varies from 10 to 18' thick. The NW side has almost completely disappeared and the entrance was presumably at a gap 6'6" wide in the NE end. There are no signs of any structures in the interior.

The annexe, of irregular shape, measures c. 140' x 95', within a single massive dry-stone wall that in part at least was 12' - 14' thick. In this area the debris of the wall is 40' thick and rises to a height of 12' above the interior. A narrow gap in the NE corner, opposite the foundations of a late cottage, is obviously intrusive, and the original entrance is situated in a re-entrant angle of the wall in the N side at the head of an easy approach. In the exposed wall face, on the S side of the entrance, there is a rebate resembling the check of a door. There may have been a wall between the annexe and the neck of land, with a narrow gap for entrance, but the N side of the neck was defended by a wall while the S side may have been similarly defended. The interior of the annexe is featureless.

C Calder and K Steer 1951.

'Dun Canna' - A fort generally as described and planned by Calder and Steer (C Calder and K Steer 1951). The westerly enclosure measures 43.0m by 13.0m within a partly overgrown wall reduced by quarrying and slip on the NW to a thin scatter of debris. Elsewhere, although no facing stones are visible, the spread of rubble would suggest a wall thickness of between 3.0m and 5.0m. The entrance planned by Calder and Steer (C Calder and K Steer 1951) is suspect. Here the tumbled wall is overgrown by a band of turf and there is no hollow through it as one might expect. The entrance, however, is not evident elsewhere.

The annexe wall also has almost been destroyed by slip and quarrying on the NW. Elsewhere the massive band of rubble (up to 10.0m wide) suggests a wall of greater proportions than that of the westerly enclosure, but, although it may have been higher, it seems to have been of the same thickness. The outer and inner faces are frequently visible in the rubble (the inner face to a height of 1.2m) giving a wall thickness in the NE of 2.8m, increasing to 4.3m half-way along the E side and then decreasing again to 3.5m at the SE corner. This increase in thickness is due to the wall crossing a hollow where its extra height would demand a more solid base. There is no trace of the rebate in the S side of the entrance seen by Calder and Steer (C Calder and K Steer 1951).

The better state of preservation of the annexe wall compared to the wall of the W enclosure suggests it may be later.

Revised at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (J M), 10 July 1974.

C Calder and K Steer 1951.

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References