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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 674727

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/event/674727

NM68SE 2 6929 8400.

(NM 6929 8400) Vitrified Fort (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1902)

Arisaig Fort is also knows as Arka Unskel, Ard Ghaunsgoik and Ard Ghamhgail. It is divided into two by a natural depression, the part to the landward being about 50 feet in either direction within a heavily vitrified wall, the outer part only about 24 feet (Feachem 1963).

The vitrified walls are traceable all round the circumference but are most perceptible at A B C and D. They vary from 3-7 feet in height and from 5-6 feet in thickness (Hamilton 1880). The gap on the E. may have formed the entrance to both forts (Cotton 1954).

R W Feachem 1963; E Hamilton 1880; M A Cotton 1954.

On the summit of a rocky promontory named Rudh' Ard Ghamhsgail are the remains of a dun, sub-circular on plan, and measuring c 12.5m in diameter within a turf-covered wall about 3.30m - 4.0m thick, showing masses of vitrifaction. The NE arc is destroyed and no entrance is apparent. With the exception of a line of stones in the N.possibly an outer wall face, there is no trace of built masonry. To the N of the

dun at a lower level are traces of a turf-covered wall in which no vitrifaction can be seen. With the cliffs to the E, it encloses an area approximately 14.0m N-S by 9.0m E-W which is bisected by a stony scarp running E-W. No entrance is visible.

This may constitute an outwork but it is more likely to be part of an earlier fort whose S end is overlaid by the dun. The whole complex is surrounded by cliffs and steep rocky slopes, which are less severe in the NW, the only logical means of access.

Along the W base of the promontory is a gully, whose W side is a ridge of outcrop rock. Gaps in this ridge have been blocked by crude walling, traces of which also cross the gulley from W to E at two points. Within the southerly of the two enclosures thus formed is a depression c 4.0m in diameter end 1.0m deep, which may have been a cistern. None of the names quoted by Feachem are known locally.

Surveyed at 1/2500

Visited by OS (NKB) 26 May 1970.

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References