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Mull, Carsaig, Nun's Cave

Cave (Period Unassigned), Cross Incised Rock (Early Medieval), Rock Carving(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Mull, Carsaig, Nun's Cave

Classification Cave (Period Unassigned), Cross Incised Rock (Early Medieval), Rock Carving(S) (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Uamh Nan Cailleach

Canmore ID 22229

Site Number NM52SW 1

NGR NM 5235 2041

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NM52SW 1 5235 2041.

(NM 5235 2041) Cave (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1976)

Nuns' Cave, Carsaig: This cave, commonly known by the English equivalent of its original Gaelic name, 'Uamh nan Cailleach', is situated some 2km SW of Carsaig. V-shaped on plan, it measures about 20m in width at the mouth by 30m in depth, while the roof rises to a maximum height of about 5m at the front. Whereas the E wall is irregular and dampstained, the W wall presents a smooth vertical face and bears numerous incised carvings, the majority being at heights of from 0.4m to 1.3m above the floor; the fact that some of them are so close to the ground suggests that the floor-level has risen appreciably since they were made. The carvings include crosses of various shapes (a-h, k, n, o), some of which could be as old as the late 6th - 9th centuries although many of the simpler ones may be more recent, and an encircled cinquefoil (RCAHMS 1980), probably of late medieval date. There are also two masons' marks (j, m), probably carved by men working the nearby quarries in the 18th or 19th century; a three-pronged symbol (i) of uncertain age; a sailing ship (p), perhaps of 18th - century date; and a number of dates, the earliest being 1633, as well as numerous modern graffiti.

Cut into a block of sandstone at the mouth of the cave is an oval basin measuring 0.35m by 0.30m and 0.18m deep, which does not appear to be of great antiquity.

RCAHMS 1980; P A Macnab 1969; 1970; Name Book 1878


Field Visit (9 June 1972)

A large natural cave, generally known as the Nuns' Cave: as described and illustrated.

Surveyed at 1:10560.

Visited by OS (R D) 9 June 1972.

Reference (2001)

The walls of this sandstone cave bear small linear and outline crosses, some with expanded or barred terminals, as well as a 'trident' symbol, masons' marks and recent graffiti.

I Fisher 2001.


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