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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 673668

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NM22SE 3 2649 2462.

(NM 2649 2462) Fort (NR)

OS 1:10000 map (1976)

Fort, Dun Cul Bhuirg, Iona: This fort is situated close to the W shore of Iona on the summit of Dun Cul Bhuirg (51m OD). Steep slopes and precipitous rock-faces afford the site strong natural protection on all sides except the E, where the ground falls less abruptly over a series of rocky outcrops and grassy terraces.

The summit measures about 45m by 35m, but approximately half of the available space is taken up by bare rock; no defences are visible on the western half of the circuit, but on the S and E there are the remains of a wall, consisting of a thin band of rubble in which several individual stones of the outer face remain in position, together with a short stretch on the S standing to a height of 1m in four rough courses. The entrance was probably somewhere on the NE side, where a rocky path, partly overlooked by the defences, leads to the summit of the hill; this line of approach, however, is now impeded by rubble. A band of displaced wall-debris ('a' on plan) is presumably the result of robbing of the facing-stones of the wall.

Excavations between 1957 and 1959, and again in 1969, discovered extensive occupation debris including sherds of Clettraval ware, and, on the E side of the fort, revealed the foundations of a small circular house with a central stone-built hearth. The pottery indicates that the site was occupied at some time during the first three centuries AD.

There is a small modern cairn on a small platform on the E side of the interior.

RCAHMS 1980, visited 1979


Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (RD) 9 June 1972.

Site recorded by AOC (Scotland) Ltd during an archaeological survey of the lands controlled by the National Trust for Scotland on Iona. This survey was conducted in late May and early April of 1996. The full report of this survey has been deposited with both the local SMR and the NMRS.

NM 2651 2463 Fort

Sponsor: National Trust for Scotland

T Rees 1996

The monument comprises a prehistoric hillfort which is situated on a rocky crag 770m NW of Culbuirg Farm, on the west side of the island of Iona.

The fort is defined by a low drystone rubble wall running around the edge of an uneven terrace on the N, E and S flanks of the summit, enclosing an area approximately 35m by 40m. Excavations in the late 1950s and in 1969 found extensive occupation debris, including sherds of distinctive mid-Iron Age pottery, which indicate that the site was occupied in the early centuries AD. On the E side of the terrace a small circular house with a central hearth was discovered.

On the highest point of the crag is a brass plate marking an Admiralty hydrographic triangulation station.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 5 August 1998.

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