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Enclosure (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Dull

Classification Enclosure (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) St Ninian's Chapel

Canmore ID 25640

Site Number NN84NW 3

NGR NN 8084 4902

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NN84NW 3 8084 4902.

(NN 8084 4902) St Ninian's Chapel (NR) (Site of)

OS 25" map, Perthshire, (1902)

The New Statistical Account (NSA 1845) states that the church or chapel attached to the alleged Abbey of Dull (see NN84NW 22) was dedicated to St Ninian. The site is now referred to locally as the ruins of the monastic college of Dull, but is believed by Stewart to have been originally a chambered cairn, although Henshall does not confirm this classification. After partial excavation in 1966 it was thought to be a souterrain with a circular enclosure above it, but further excavation in 1967-8 showed the "souterrain" to be the flue passage of a large and complex corn-roasting kiln which was secondary to an earlier structure of unproved classification. The excavation showed the site to consist of a paved circular enclosure 30' across formed by a drystone wall 3' wide - the inner face composed of contiguous slabs - with a paved passage leading E out of it flanked by four large upright slabs. This paving continued eastwards, curving outwards along the line of the splayed out wall on the N side. The 32' long partially lintelled flue passage led S from under the S side of the enclosure. A 6' diameter secondary fire-pit had been constructed in the middle of the enclosure, destroying much of the earlier paving. Charred grain and carbonised wood was recovered from it. Under the undisturbed SW slabs of the floor, black-faced pottery, a microlithic point of yellow flint, and what may be a broken leaf-shaped arrowhead of grey flint were found. During a secondary use of the central fire pit, its area had been curtailed, and one of the uprights outlining the curtailment was cup marked.

An apparently circular foundation c.18' across, partly outlined by large boulders showing through the turf in the NE quadrant of the site was sectioned and revealed slag. E of the paved passage was a rectangular structure 22'6" x 18' which was found to complete the partly circular foundation. in the centre was a shallow hearth, from which came carbonised hazel nuts. This structure appeared to be supported on a platform of small stones to retain it on the sloping ground; the downward side to the S was supported by a wall of large stones. To the SW, the site was found to be completely ruined.

NSA 1845; M E C Stewart 1961; 1966; 1967; 1968; A S Henshall 1972.

Despite Miss Henshall's refusal to accept this site as being originally a chambered cairn, Mrs Stewart (information to OS) believes it was, and asserts that Dr Corcoran shares her belief. The excavation has been back-filled, and field examination of the stones still visible cannot help to classify the site which excavation has proved to be so complex. There is no local name for the site.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (A A) 4 December 1974.

No change to previous field report.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (J R L) 30 November 1978.


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