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Dun Na Nighinn

Dun (Prehistoric)

Site Name Dun Na Nighinn

Classification Dun (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 22843

Site Number NM80SW 27

NGR NM 8491 0282

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes ( - 1971)

NM80SW 27 8491 0282.

(NM 8491 0282) Dun na Nighinn (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1974)

The remains of this dun crown a small ridge at the north end of the Kilmartin glen. Although only 150 yards east of the road and stream, the dun is hidden from the road by an intervening ridge. The defensive south wall still stands to a maximum height of 6' but is ruinous at its ends. The inner face reaches a height of 3' or 4'. A similar wall defends the north end and is pierced in the middle by the only entrance, which is about 6' wide. The width of the walls generally is from 9 to 10 feet. The eastern side too, has had a defensive wall, but little remains of this, whilst on the west side, the steepness of the terrain appears to have provided adequate natural defence. The level interior is oblong with straight sides and rounded ends, and measures 45 by 30 feet. A small lump of slag or bloom was found in this dun.

D Christison 1904; M Campbell and M Sandeman 1964.

Generally as described. Although there is no apparent wall on the west, it undoubtedly existed as a few grounders can still be seen in situ and a mass of tumble lies at the foot of the slope. The deeply-checked entrance on the north is about 1.3 metres wide. The bloom found by Campbell remains in her possession. Name confirmed.

Surveyed at 1:2500 scale.

Visited by OS (R D) 12 October 1971.


Field Visit (June 1982)

One of the most impressive duns in Mid Argyll stands athwart a rock ridge some 600m ENE of Tibertich; (Campbell and Sandeman 1964) because of the narrowness of the ridge, the lowest course of the outer face of the NW side of the dun wall was set about 4.3m below the level of the summit in order to increase the interior area, and much of this side has now slipped down the flank of the ridge.

The dun measured about 15m by 12m within a carefully built wall 3.5m in thickness, which at the S end still stands to a height of 2.3m in sixteen courses with a batter of about 0.3m. The entrance is at the NE end; it has, however, not only been reconstructed in antiquity, but it is now partly filled with rubble, and thus its precise structural form is uncertain.

On the NW side of the passage one section of the wall still stands to a height of 0.5m in three courses, but the outer corner is not preserved. On the SE side of the passage the outer angle is partly hidden by a stretch of recent walling which now blocks the entrance, but two stones of the passage and the inner angle may still be traced. The original entrance, about 2m in width, appears to have had no door-checks; in a secondary phase, however, the width at the outer end of the passage was reduced to 1 m by the insertion of a short length of walling composed of massive blocks which still stands 0.9m high externally.

A lower terrace on the S side of the dun has been defended by a short stretch of walling, which was designed to impede access from this flank.

Visited June 1982



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