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Tiree, Dun Boraige Moire

Broch (Iron Age)(Possible), Dun (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Tiree, Dun Boraige Moire

Classification Broch (Iron Age)(Possible), Dun (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 21445

Site Number NL94NW 1

NGR NL 9468 4756

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/21445

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

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Tiree
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NL94NW 1 9468 4756.

(NL 9468 4756) Dun Boraige Moire (NR)

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

Dun Boraige Mor is probably allied to the ground-galleried brochs, such as Dun Mor Vaul (NM04NW 3), but the walls are abnormally thin, abotu 10', when compared with the overall diameter of about 60'.

Although the site, which lies on a knoll, is dilapidated and turf-covered, the outline can still be traced together with suggestions of a mural gallery on the NE. (E W MacKie 1963) The entrance, 4' wide, is on the NE and in 1903 was well-defined (E Beveridge 1903). There were traces of stone hut foundations in the interior.

"Near the entrance, appanages of the dun seem to have extended northwards far over the rocks above the shore, thus including quite a large space.

To the east, outside the entrance to the main fort, are continuous traces of an exterior causewayed access two or three feet wide, leading up the slope and curving in from the south. This approach has been flanked upon both sides by walls, and on the north, between the access and the rocks, by a number of separate huts, some of them rectangular, but others probably circular, the whole enceinte, being very well marked. Only a little pottery was to be seen (some with patterns) together with hammer-stones, and a single piece of flint, also kitchen-midden bones (including a deer's horn) and shells, with a few horses' teeth. (E Beveridge 1903)

"Boraige" appears to be a corruption of the Norse "Borg". The site was excavated by the Duke of Argyll about 1880.

E W MacKie 1963; E Beveridge 1903; C M Piggott 1954.

This is a galleried dun generally as described, though the entrance is in the SE. No definite hut foundations could be recognised in the interior. Around the knoll on the E and S are short stretches of walling, which while difficult to interpret appear to form small plots or enclosures. No huts can be recognised.

Resurveyed at 1:10,560.

Visited by OS (J P) 21 June 1972.

Dun, Dun Boraige Moire: This dun stands within 100 m of of the shore, on the summit of a rocky headland. Oval on plan, the dun measures about 12m by 9m within a wall which varies in thickness from 4m on the E to at least 5m on the S. The outer face can be traced for most of its circuit, standing at best to a height of 0.7m in three courses; on the N side its lowest course is set as much as 4.3m below the general level of the summit. By contrast, the inner face is largely obscured by fallen core material. An unusual feature of the wall is the presence within its thickness of an internal revetment, of which traces can be seen at points on the S and NE. On the former side there are short stretches of two such revetments, set 0.9m apart and giving the remains of the wall a 'stepped' appearance. The revetment on the NE is described by Beveridge (E Beveridge 1903) as belonging to an intramural gallery, but excavation is needed to test this assertion. The entrance is on the E, and enough of the side-walls is exposed to show that the passage is about 1m wide. The interior has been severely disturbed, and no traces are now visible of the foundations of stone huts reported by Beveridge. The dun has been accompanied by an outer wall, of which limited stretches can be seen on the SW and SE. These now isolated sections may have formed parts of what was originally a continuous defence-line, designed to give the dun and its entrance added protection on the vulnerable S and E sides. This outwork, however, has been severely robbed of its stone to build a number of later sub-rectangular buildings whose foundations lie E of the dun, and which are probably associated with several small plots which have been under cultivation at some time.

RCAHMS 1980, visited 1975.

Activities

Publication Account (2007)

NL94 1 DUN BORAIGE MOIRE

NL/9468 4756

This probable ground-galleried broch or oval dun on Tiree stands on a rounded rock knoll on the west coast of the island and within 100m of the shore; it is extremely dilapidated and overgrown with turf (visited 8/62). Despite this the outline of the wall can be traced and the building can be seen to be oval with internal diameters of from 9-12m with a wall which varies in thickness from 4m to 5m on the east and south respectively. The outer face survives for most of the way round, standing up to three courses high, but the inner is mainly obscured by fallen rubble. The entrance is on the east and is about 1m wide. Within the wall on the south and north-east are traces of what may be a mural gallery; it was thought to be such by Beveridge and by the author but the Commission’s investigators interpreted it as an outward-facing revetment inside the wall core [4]. Excavation would be needed to resolve the point for certain but this interpretation is strengthened by the discovery of two such intramural faces on the south-east. There is an outer wall, fragments of which can be seen on the south-west and south-east, but it has been severely robbed.

Some sherds of pottery, including three decorated pieces, were picked up on the site in 1952 and the latter were subsequently described and illustrated [3]. One (no. 1) is a clear Vaul ware vase but – as we now know that this kind of pottery was in use on the island for about a thousand years from at least as early as 500 BC – it is not very helpful for dating.

Sources: 1. NMRS site no. NL 94 NW 1: 2. Beveridge 1903, 78 ff.: 3. Piggott 1952, 197 and figure: 4. RCAHMS 1980, 106-07, no. 201 and fig. 120.

E W MacKie 2007

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