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North Uist, Loch An Duin, Dun Nighean Righ Lochlainn

Dun (Prehistoric), Unidentified Pottery (Prehistoric)

Site Name North Uist, Loch An Duin, Dun Nighean Righ Lochlainn

Classification Dun (Prehistoric), Unidentified Pottery (Prehistoric)

Alternative Name(s) Portrain

Canmore ID 10446

Site Number NF97SE 4

NGR NF 95310 72369

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish North Uist
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NF97SE 4 95310 72369.

(NF 9528 7239) Dun Nighean Righ Lochlainn stands in the N end of Loch an Duin, near the centre of the Portain District. The dun is of very regular cylindrical form, rising abruptly from the water's edge. The overall diameter is 29 1/2ft, the walls averaging 5ft in height. The interior is now so entirely choked with loose stones that it is difficult to see the original plan, but one radial wall still remains. The island is approached from the shore on its NE by a causeway below the present water-level at the landward end of which are two small semi-circular stone shelters. Fifty yards W from the causeway is a small triangular bay or boat-harbour.

E Beveridge 1911; RCAHMS 1928.

As described above, although no radial wall is now visible. The amorphous remains of the two shelters can be seen built into the natural rock above the shore, c.21.0m W of the causeway. The boat-harbour, 50 yards W of the causeway, appears to be a natural inlet.

Visited by OS (R D) 27 June 1965.


Diver Inspection (2010)

NF 95310 72369

This work forms part of the project described under Dun an-t Siamain. An investigation of the ‘island dwelling’ Dun Nighean Righ Lochlainn (NF97SE 4) revealed the islet is largely, if not entirely, artificial in nature consisting of sub-angular boulders averaging 0.3–0.75m in size. No trace of a natural foundation was noted beneath the dun. This was surprising, given the substantial nature of the dun and raises questions regarding its structural stability. Examination of the loch bed both around the islet and the causeway revealed several fragments of later prehistoric pottery of probable mid-Iron Age date.

The position of the pottery which was lying exposed on the ground surface to the rear of the dun and along the causeway was recorded with a GPS. A survey which concentrated on the remains of the well preserved Atlantic roundhouse and causeway was carried out using a total station. A large quantity of apparently imported stone lies on the loch bed to the NW of the islet and appears to represent unused building material or stockpiles. This rocky section stands in contrast to the largely featureless loch bed that was inspected within a 20m radius of the dun.

Report: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: The 2010 GAMA Award courtesy of the Gatliff Trust

R Lenfert 2010


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