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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 697249

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NR98SW 2 9383 8287

(NR 9383 8287) Fort (NR)

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

A galleried dun (Paterson 1970) occupies the summit of Barr Iola. It had a double faced stone wall, 10' thick, joining up masses of outcrop and enclosing an oval area, 73' x 55'. Much of the masonry has slipped down the slopes, which are littered with debris; only where it fills clefts in the rock is the outer face preserved - on the SE, three courses of massive quarry dressed blocks are exposed across a cleft, while there is a longer but less imposing exposure on the N. On the W, the highest ridge of outcrop provided natural defence, and there is a parallel but lower ridge on the E. The inner face of the wall is exposed on the S, W, and N; the entrance lay to the SW through a cleft that was strengthened by dilapidated masonry. There is a cell-like structure built on to the main wall just within the entrance to the left. Further round on the same side are the suggestions of a cell in the thickness of the wall. On a platform, just below the dun, is a spring.

V G Childe 1932; G A F Knight 1937; M Paterson 1970.

In addition to Childe's report, the E half of the interior shows a raised terrace in which roughly rectangular foundations can be detected, while outside the fort and some 8' lower, is a rampart enclosing an area 135' N-S by 108'. This passes the W gateway of the higher fort without a break, and was probably entered from the NE. What may be the arc of a slighter built rampart lies further out to the NW. Against the outer side of the earlier fort at the SE is a hut circle, while a reed-grown hollow may indicate a second.

F Newall 1960.

Generally as described. The entrance on the W is c. 2.3m wide throughout, with no check. There is a possible gallery, running from the entrance S for c. 4.0m, but it is choked with rubble. There are no outworks nor are there any other certain structures either inside or outside the dun except for NR98SW 31.

Visited by OS (D W R) 9 November 1972.

Situated on the summit of Barr Iola, a position that commands extensive views over Loch Fyne, there is a large and comparatively well-preserved dun measuring 24m by 17m internally. The dun wall measures about 3m in thickness and is best preserved on the N, where the outer face tsands to a height of 0.6m in three courses; several other extensive stretches of the lowest course of the inner and outer faces survive elsewhere, while on the SE the outer facing of the wall has been carried across a cleft on a neatly built substructure 0.6m deep. Within the body of the wall about 1.2m from the inner face there are traces - too indefinite to plan- of what may have been a medial revetment. The entrance, situated on the W, is not well preserved, and there are no traces of the 'cell-like structure built on to the main wall just within it on the left' (Childe 1932); nor can any sign of a cell in the thickness of the wall be found at this point.

A low grassy scarp runs across the middle of the interior, the lower (NW) half overgrown with reeds. On the NE there is a short length of the inner face of the dun wall that diverges from the expected alignment, but, although the purpose of this feature is not clear, it seems unlikely that it was part of an internal building.

There is no evidence to suggest that the dun was ever surrounded by outworks, or that the group of boulders some 60m to the SW is a 'stone circle', as has been claimed (Newall 1960). The ruined rectilinear building situated on a platform immediately to the S is presumably of relatively recent date.

RCAHMS 1988, visited May 1985.

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