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Burg, Dun Bhuirg, Mull

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

Site Name Burg, Dun Bhuirg, Mull

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

Canmore ID 21997

Site Number NM42NW 1

NGR NM 4217 2624

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/21997

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2017.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilfinichen And Kilvickeon
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NM42NW 1 4217 2624.

(NM 4217 2624) Dun Bhuirg (NR)

OS 1:10000 map (1976)

Dun, Dun Bhuirg: This dun is situated on the level summit of an elongated rocky ridge, some 500m SW of Burgh farmhouse. It is sub-oval on plan and measures about 8.5m by 6.9m within a well-built dry-stone wall 4.1m in greatest thickness. The outer portion of the wall has collapsed over the cliff on the S, but elsewhere it is reasonably well-preserved, particularly on the N, where the outer face stands 1.3m high in five courses. A considerable length of the inner face has also survived at an average height of 0.4m above the present level of the interior.

The entrance, which is checked for a door, is in the E. About 2.4m N of the entrance the inner face of the dun wall is interrupted for a doorway giving access to an intramural chamber, 2.0m by 1.4m. A flight of steps leading up from the chamber was presumably designed to give access to the wall-head, but only the five lowest treads survive. The interior of the dun contains a late 19th-century memorial.

The approach to the entrance has been further protected by an outer wall drawn round the margin of the summit to the E of the dun. In the N half of its course it is fairly well preserved, the outer face surviving at one point to a height of 1m in four courses, but to the S of the entrance (opposite that of the dun) the wall has been reduced to a low stony scarp.

On level ground at the foot of the ridge on the N and E there are the mutilated remains of another wall, surviving as a series of grass-covered stony scarps about 1 m high, in which several large boulders project through the turf. Originally, it may be presumed, the wall was more or less continuous and ran in a wide arc from the cliff face on the E to abut against the foot of the ridge NW of the dun, the wide gaps now visible being due to relatively modern disturbance. The character of this work is clearly quite different from that of the dun and the upper outwork, and probably indicates that it is of secondary construction.

RCAHMS 1980, visited 1974

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (DWR) 24 May 1972

Activities

Field Visit (7 June 1934)

Fort, Dun Bhuirch, on rocky ridge falling away sheer to shore about 25'. Oval encient girt with massive wall, checks in doorway. To right cell with corbelling in NE corner and stairs going up towards door - 5 steps intact. Massive outwork across slope on E probably fosse and counterscarp bank cutting off ridge below.

Visited by VG Childe 1934

Field Visit (26 June 1943)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Emergency Survey (1942-3), an unpublished rescue project. Site descriptions, organised by county, vary from short notes to lengthy and full descriptions and are available to view online with contemporary sketches and photographs. The original typescripts, manuscripts, notebooks and photographs can also be consulted in the RCAHMS Search Room.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 10 December 2014.

Field Visit (January 2000 - December 2000)

On the level summit of an elongated rocky ridge. The south face of the ridge is almost sheer though the other sides are less severely sloping.

The dun is sub-oval in plan and c8.5m by 6.9m within a well built drystone wall 4.1m at its thickest point. It is particularly well preserved to the N, where the outer face stands c1.3m high on 5 courses. The entrance, which is checked for a door, is on the E. The S passage wall is curved in plan. N of the entrance is an intra-mural chamber, slightly sunken and slightly corbelled inwards. A flight of steps leading up from the chamber on the SE was presumably designed to give access to the wall-head, but only the 5 lowest treads survive.

The interior of the dun contains a memorial to a young girl, drowned in the nearby loch in 1896.

The approach to the entrance of the dun has been further protected by an outer wall drawn around the margin of the summit to the E.

On level ground at the foot of the ridge on the N and E are the remains of another wall. The character of this work is clearly different from that of the dun and upper outwork. It is therefore probably of secondary construction.

(BUR00 001) Information from NTS (CJM) February 2014

On the level summit of an elongated rocky ridge. The south face of the ridge is almost sheer though the other sides are less severely sloping. The dun is sub-oval in plan and c8.5m by 6.9m within a well built drystone wall 4.1m at its thickest point. It is particularly well preserved to the N, where the outer face stands c1.3m high on 5 courses. The entrance, which is checked for a door, is on the E. The S passage wall is curved in plan. N of the entrance is an intra-mural chamber, slightly sunken and slightly corbelled inwards. A flight of steps leading up from the chamber on the SE was presumably designed to give access to the wall-head, but only the 5 lowest treads survive. The interior of the dun contains a memorial to a young girl, drowned in the nearby loch in 1896. The approach to the entrance of the dun has been further protected by an outer wall drawn around the margin of the summit to the E. On level ground at the foot of the ridge on the N and E are the remains of another wall. The character of this work is clearly different from that of the dun and upper outwork. It is therefore probably of secondary construction. (BUR00 001) Information from NTS (CJM) February 2014

Publication Account (2007)

NM42 1 DUN BHUIRG

NM/4217 2624

This site – in Kilfinichan and Kilvickeon – is either a probable D-shaped semibroch or a sub-oval dun which has lost part of its wall [3]. In a very similar situation to, and very similar in plan to, Dun Ardtreck on Skye (NG33 2), it stands on the summit of a high and steep knoll which rises at the seaward edge of a flat strip of cultivated land (only about 200m wide) which is bounded by low cliffs. The knoll backs on to a 15m (50 ft) drop down to a scree slope which falls another 30m (100 ft) to the beach (visited 6/6/64).

The structure is D-shaped in plan with traces of a thin wall along the cliff edge forming the straight side; the Commission thought that most of the wall on this side had fallen over the cliff [3]. The entrance faces east-south-east and is parallel to the cliff edge; a door-frame with built checks is apparent 1.02m (3 ft 4 in) from the outside and the passage itself is 3.2m (10 ft 9 in) long.

About 2.1m (7 ft) to the right of the entrance is a doorway from the interior to a chamber from which a mural stair (which has been cleared of debris) rises clockwise back towards the entrance; this chamber can hardly be called a stair-foot guard cell as it barely extends to the left of the doorway. There are possible traces of a mural gallery on the dilapidated wallhead further round but the signs are ambiguous and they are not mentioned by the Commission.

There is an apparently short outer wall a short distance in front of the entrance and with a possible corner- stone of a doorway in it, approximately in line with the main door. At the foot of the knoll, to the east and north of the dun, are the clear signs of another outer wall.

Discussion

Without systematic excavation the identity of the site as a D-shaped semibroch cannot be demonstrated, although the stairway pointing towards the entrance might imply that there was a gallery running over it. The traces of the wall gallery observed in 1964 are obviously no longer visible.

Sources: 1. NMRS site no. NM 42 NW 1: 2. Childe 1935, 199: 3: RCAHMS 1980, 101, no. 186 and fig. 118.

E W MacKie 2007

Watching Brief (26 May 2008 - 27 May 2008)

NM 4232 2629 During a National Trust for Scotland Thistle Camp, on 26–27 May 2008, volunteers cleared and extended surface drains in the fields to the E of Dun Buirg. A watching brief was carried out during some of the work, but apart from some 19th-century pottery sherds, nothing of archaeological significance was found.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: The National Trust for Scotland

Derek Alexander (The National Trust for Scotland), 2008

References

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