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Dun-da-lamh, Laggan

Fort (Iron Age)

Site Name Dun-da-lamh, Laggan

Classification Fort (Iron Age)

Alternative Name(s) Black Craig

Canmore ID 24310

Site Number NN59SE 3

NGR NN 5823 9295

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/24310

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

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Laggan
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Badenoch And Strathspey
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NN59SE 3 5823 9295

(NN 5823 9295) Dun-da-lamh (NAT) Fort (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1971)

Fort, Black Craig, Laggan: Black Craig is a rocky eminence the summit of which attains a height of 1,484 OD and stands 600ft above the level of the ground a quarter of a mile distant. The sole defence is a stone wall, the faces of which have recently been cleared in places. The uneven nature of the ground has meant that the distance between the inner and outer faces varies from place to place, the limits recorded being 13ft and 23ft. The WSW section of the wall runs for a little more than 300ft athwart the line of approach, cutting off the promontory which consists of two elevated areas and the depression between them. A point about the middle of this stretch has been used in modern times as an entrance, an engineered pathway being directed up towards it from the col, but enough of the inner and outer faces of the wall can be seen on the surface to make it reasonably certain that originally there was no entrance at this point. The only unquestionable gap is in the middle of the NW part of the wall, and this leads directly into the central depression. The stones of the wall are small and while the remote situation may have acted as a degree of protection against casual or systematic stone robbers, the condition of some parts of the wall is remarkable. At the W apex, for example, the inner face of the wall stands exposed to a height of over 6ft, while the outer face in the middle of the SE sector reaches as much as 9ft. The interior is, as may be seen from the plan, occupied by different levels of rocky bosses and courts. It is impossible from surface observation to say to what extent these may have been altered by the fort builders, but it is very probable that such terraces as those NE of the central depression supported dwellings. A dug-out of the kind made by the Home Guard in the 1939- 45 war is situated in the S apex, and a cairn stands near it on the line of the inner face of the wall. Three other cairns stand on the debris of the wall near the N apex.

T Wallace 1921; M MacKay 1857; Infomation from RCAHMS MS (R W Feachem, 19 September 1956).

Dun-da-Lamh or Black Craig is generally as described above. The enclosing wall survives to a maximum internal height of 2.5m in the NW corner, where the tumble has been cleared, and to a maximum external height of 2.2m in the S.

Visited by OS (N K B) 12 October 1965.

No change to previous field report.

Revised at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (J M) 28 February 1979.

Activities

Field Visit (19 September 1956)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Marginal Land Survey (1950-1962), an unpublished rescue project. Site descriptions, organised by county, are available to view online - see the searchable PDF in 'Digital Items'. These vary from short notes, to lengthy and full descriptions. Contemporary plane-table surveys and inked drawings, where available, can be viewed online in most cases - see 'Digital Images'. The original typecripts, notebooks and drawings can also be viewed in the RCAHMS search room.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 19 July 2013.

Publication Account (1995)

The fort is built on a knoll at the east end of a long, steepsided ridge known as the Black Craig, and is divided from the main ridge by a saddle. Standing some 200m above the valley floor, it has extensive views over upper Strathspey and Strathmashie. The knoll has two craggy summits with a lower area between, now overgrown with tall grass and heather: its Gaelic name (pronounced 'dun da larve') means 'fort of the two hands' and may refer to the two summits. The rampart does not follow a level contour round the hill, but climbs up and down with the crags, and it was unusually massive, varying in width from fout to six metres or more; it is now tumbled and lichened. The inner face of the wall has been exposed at the northwest and southwest corners by the removal of tumble, showing the fine quality of the masonry built with small slabs (however, unless covered over soon, this face will itself deteriorate). Because of the odd shape of the hill, the fort has pronounced corners, The fort is built on a knoll at the east and of a long, steepsided ridge known as the Black Craig, and is divided from the main ridge by a saddle. Standing some 200m above the valley floor, it has extensive views over upper Strathspey and Strathmashie. The knoll has two craggy summits with a lower area between, now overgrown with tall grass and heather: its Gaelic name (pronounced 'dun da larve') means 'fort of the two hands' and may refer to the two summits. The rampart does not follow a level contour round the hill, but climbs up and down with the crags, and it was unusually massive, varying in width from four to six metres or more; it is now tumbled and lichened. The inner face o f the wall has been exposed at the northwest and southwest corners by the removal of tumble, showing the fine quality of the masonry built with small slabs (however, unless covered over soon, this face will itself deteriorate). Because of the odd shape of the hill, the fort has pronounced corners, with angles skilfully constructed on the inner side of the wall. The original entrance may have been in the middle of the north wall where there seems to be a gap.

The position of the fort on such a craggy knoll and the use of rock outcrops suggest that this fort may be of early historic date, perhaps contemporary with fortifications on crags in the south of Scotland, such as Dumbarton Rock near Glasgow, Dunadd in Argyll and Dundurn, Perth and Kinross District.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Highlands’, (1995).

Ground Survey (March 2002)

NN 582 929 A topographic survey of Dun da Lamh hillfort (NMRS NN59SE 3) was undertaken in March 2002. The survey was carried out to produce a plan to aid interpretation and management of the site. A total of nine sites or groups of sites were identified during the course of the field survey; only two of these may be contemporary with the use of the fort.

(Archive to be deposited in the NMRS).

Sponsor: Laggan Forest Trust Forestry Company Ltd.

M Dalland 2002.

Ground Survey (27 September 2010 - 22 February 2011)

A topographic survey of five hillforts on Forestry Commission land was undertaken in September 2010, and completed in February 2011. The forts surveyed were: Caisteal Mac Tuathal, Kenmore (NN 7790 4765); Dun da Lamh, Laggan (NN 5823 9295); Dun Deardail, Fort William (NN 1270 7013); Tor Dhuin, Fort Augustus (NH 3485 0693) and Craig Phadrig, Inverness (NH 6400 4528). The survey aimed to produce plans at a scale of at least 1:1000. Two of the forts, Caisteal Mac Tuathal and Tor Dhuin are covered by dense bracken and its removal would significantly improve the appearance of these forts.

Archive: RCAHMS

Funder: Forestry Commission Scotland

Headland Archaeology Ltd, 2011

Information also reported in Oasis (headland1-95129) 4 August 2011

References

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