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Eilean A Bharain

Farmstead (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Eilean A Bharain

Classification Farmstead (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 185988

Site Number NN02NW 32

NGR NN 04411 25192

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilchrenan And Dalavich
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NN02NW 32 0441 2519

Eilean a' Bharain is a grassy, whale-backed ridge projecting from the E shore of Loch Tromlee; it may once have been an island, as the low ground to the E is marshy and liable to flood in winter, and in earlier times probably formed part of the loch. On the crest of the ridge there are the remains of a substantial stone-walled building, around which there are traces of several turf-built buildings and huts, as well as a number of banks enclosing, or partially enclosing, what were probably garden plots or paddocks.

The largest building (LORN96, 407) occupies a commanding position on the crest of the ridge. Rectangular on plan, it measures 13.4m by 4.8m from NE to SW within a rubble-faced wall 1m in thickness and 0.6m in height. The entrance lay in the S side-wall and there is a possible partition at the NE end. A second stone building (LORN96, 406) lay to the NE; it has been heavily robbed and reduced to little more than a robber trench measuring 8.9m from NNE to SSW by 7.1m transversely overall.

The two remaining buildings lie to the W of the largest building. The first (LORN96, 408) is situated below the crest on the N side of the ridge; it is subrectangular, aligned NW-SE, and measures about 5.1m by 3.1m within a turf wall spread to a thickness of 1m, with a possible entrance on the SW side. At the NW end of the interior there is a domed area, the function of which is uncertain. The final building (LORN96, 409) is subrectangular, measuring 6.7m from NW to SE by 3.3m transversely within a stone wall, now spread to 1m in thickness by 0.3m in height; the entrance is in the NE side wall.

Towards the W end of the ridge there are what are probably the remains of three turf-built subrectangular huts (LORN96, 410-412), measuring up to 6.8m in length by 0.3m in height.

On the S-facing flank of the ridge below the largest building there is an embanked enclosure which may have served as a garden plot, and to the W there are lynchets running along the contour of the ridge. Elsewhere a number of field banks can be seen, which subdivide the ridge into a series of enclosures. The approach to the ridge from the E is cut off by a relatively recent stone wall. What may be traces of an earlier wall are visible at the NW and SE ends of the present wall, and immediately outside the gap through the modern wall there are the footings of what may be a wall beyond which is a gully which could be part of a ditch cutting across the neck of the promontory.

Whilst the form of the structures on Eilean a' Bharain are reasonably clear, what they represent is more problematical. They may be the remains of a farmsteading, but nothing is recorded here on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map nor on Roy's map; alternatively they may be associated with the medieval building situated on an island immediately to the SSW in Loch Tromlee.

(LORN96 406-412)

Visited by RCAHMS (JBS) 2 July 1996


Aerial Photography (2 June 1997)


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