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Field System (Prehistoric), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric), Settlement(S) (Prehistoric)

Site Name Bunrannoch

Classification Field System (Prehistoric), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric), Settlement(S) (Prehistoric)

Alternative Name(s) Caistealan Dubha

Canmore ID 24573

Site Number NN65NE 7

NGR NN 6645 5789

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Fortingall
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire


Field Visit (21 October 1974)

NN65NE 7 6659 5796 to 6645 5787.

('A': NN 6659 5798; 'B': NN 6645 5789; 'C': NN 6639 5794) Caistealan Dubha (NR) (Site of) (3 pecked circles shown)

OS 6" map (1861)

(NN 6666 5793) Bunrannoch House on Site of Caistealan Dubha (NR)

OS 6" map (1900)

Two Glen Lyon type homesteads ('A' and 'B') and the remains of at least three hut circles lie on a valley floor with surrounding agricultural remains of several periods (see NN65NE 5).

'A' is visible as a dished hollow surrounded by a roughly circular wall of heather-covered debris spread to 6.0m in width. In the NW arc four contiguous stones of the inner face are visible, and these with one probable inner facing stone in the SE, give an internal diameter of 10.2m. Three widely spaced boulders of the outer wall face protrude through the debris in the S arc, indicating a wall thickness of about 3.0m. A gap in the W with an earthfast block flanking its S side probably denotes the entrance. From the SW arc of the homestead a probably contemporary wall runs W for c.20.0m, then turns N for 22.0m, and then turns E for 38.0m where it ends some 6.0m N of the NE arc of the homestead, thus forming a rectilinear enclosure. A gap in the N side may be a gate way. Immediately outside the SE arc of the homestead is a rectangular hollow which may be the overgrown foundation of a later building (see enlargement).

'B' is visible as a ring of turf-covered debris spread to a maximum of 10.0m in width. Outer facing stones protrude through the debris around the whole of the N half and three others are visible in the S arc giving an overall diameter of 20.2m. There are no definite inner facing stones but there are suggestions in the N arc that the wall was approximately 3.0m thick. The entrance is not evident, but an upright earthfast stone in the SE in the body of the wall may be a door jamb. Ruinous field walls joining the NW and SW arcs are of uncertain date. Intruding into the debris in the SE is a "long-house", one of several forming the deserted village of Bunrannoch (see NN65NE 5).

Hut circle 'A' measures 15.0m NW-SE by 13.0m between the centres of a strong wall spread to 3.5m. The mutilated entrance is in the SE. The interior is partly occupied by a late rectangular building foundation measuring 6.0m x 3.5m.

'B' is of similar proportions but is oriented N-S and is in a poor state of preservation.

'C' is 9.5m NE-SW by 8.0m between the centres of a wall spread to 3.0m. A slight gap in the SW may represent the entrance, but it has been almost blocked by the NE corner of a late "long house".

'D' is a slight oval hollow obscured by heather. It measures c.8.0m E-W by c.6.5m and is 0.3m deep. It is possibly the remains of a hut circle but is in too poor a state to be certain.

There are traces of what may have been another hut circle (c.10.0m diameter) cut through by an old track at NN 6672 5809. The name "Caistealan Dubha" (mis-applied on OS 6" 1900 - and obviously applying to the homesteads which alone are shown on OS 6" 1861), is no longer known locally.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OA (AA) 21 October 1974

Field Visit (1999)

NN 665 579 Survey was undertaken of archaeological features at Bunrannoch including remains of two homesteads, three hut circles [both NN65NE 7] and five criel houses [NN65NE 5] situated within systems of rig and furrow and clearance cairns.

A walkover survey was also undertaken in the environs around Bunrannoch. A farmstead, several shieling groups, peat tracks and cairns were identified in the uplands to the W of Innerhadden Burn. Further fieldwork is planned in 2000.

A report will be lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsor: Hunter Marshall Trust.

G MacGregor 1999

Project (2001)

NN 664 578 Further fieldwork was undertaken as part of the Rannoch Archaeological Project in September 2001. Excavation took place at Bunrannoch (NN65NE 5 and NN65NE 7) and Coire a' Chapuill in order to help clarify the chronology, inter-relationship and nature of occupation at the loch side and the hinterlands beyond.

Limited excavation of three structures was undertaken at Bunrannoch. One trench (5 x 3.7m) was opened over the western interior of one of the long open-ended rectangular structures at the site (NN65NE 5). This revealed that the building had two phases of use. During the first phase of occupation the wattle walls, set into a low earthen bank, had been destroyed by fire. This phase of use was associated with central posts within the interior and evidence of organic build-up along the sunken centre of the structure. The walls were subsequently rebuilt using stone footings topped with turf and stone. The floor levels associated with this phase bore no evidence of internal features. No datable material culture was recovered from either phase, however carbonised wood and burnt bone was recovered from phase one features.

A second trench (8 x 2 m) was excavated within a homestead at the site (NN65NE 5). This produced evidence of ironworking at the site, including bloomery tap slag, smithing slag and furnace lining. Internal features included a number of large pits and evidence of paving. Once again no datable artefacts were recovered, however the bloomery slag would seem to suggest a late medieval date for this phase of use.

The final trench was excavated within a large hut circle (NN65NE 5) which subsequently had a sub-rectangular structure constructed in its interior. The trench measured 4 x 2m and was placed over the corner of the rectangular building and extended over the hut circle wall. Excavation revealed that the rectangular building had been constructed substantially later than the hut circle. Ceramics recovered from its floor and walls seem to suggest a mid-19th-century date for use. Removal of the floor of this structure and wall, together with the removal of the hut circle wall, revealed an earlier occupation horizon with a post-hole and pit cut through it. No datable artefacts were retrieved from this layer.

Excavation was also undertaken of a sub-rectangular 'shieling' structure, c 4.8 x 3.4m in size, with an open gable end, at Coire a' Chapuill, Innerhadden Glen. The trench measured c 4.8 x 4.7m maximum, and covered the interior and area in front of the entrance. The results of excavation suggest it was not used as a dwelling but may have served as a milking shed or store.

Further topographic survey and palaeo-environmental assessment was also undertaken this season. (GUARD 761.2).

Sponsors: Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, Hunter Marshall Bequest.

J Atkinson, P Duffy and G MacGregor 2001


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