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Islay, Loch An Fhir Mhoir

Fortified Island (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Site Name Islay, Loch An Fhir Mhoir

Classification Fortified Island (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Canmore ID 37375

Site Number NR26NE 4

NGR NR 2637 6932

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.


Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NR26NE 4 2637 6932.

(NR 2638 6931) The island in Loch an Fhir Mhor is circular, and built round with boulders which form a rampart rim leaving the island hollow in the middle. An underwater causeway is said to lead to the island.

F Newall 1960.

A small vegetation covered island with a fringe rim of stone rubble. The alleged causeway is not evident. There is no boat on this loch and a close inspection was not possible.

Visited by OS (T R G) 6 May 1978.

The remains of a neatly-coursed drystone rubble wall describe a complete circuit around this small island which is situated about 75m from the W shore of the loch. The island is roughly circular on plan and measures 12.5m in maximum diameter from E to W. The wall is about 2m in average thickness, at the date of visit it was submerged to a measurable depth of over 1m and stood 0.5m in maximum height above the water-level. The interior of the island, which is marshy and overgrown with vegetation, corresponds roughly to the level of the loch and contains no visible structural remains.

RCAHMS 1984.

NR 2637 6932 Dun Fhir Mhoir is located near the centre of Loch an Fhir Mhoir. The site is accessed by a 3m wide causeway of large boulders which links it to an old shoreline 49m to the W. The causeway is composed of unevenly spaced boulders and has the defensive feature of a slight curve near its centre. The site may only be easily approached by means of the causeway as the water surrounding it is 3m+ in depth.

The portion of the site which still remains visible from the shore consists of a roughly circular ring of dry-stacked stone walling which rises 0.7m above the water surface. This walling has an average thickness of 2m and external diameters measuring 11.4m N-S by 13.4m E-W transversely. The interior of the site was flooded at the time of survey but lay near the water surface and was heavily overgrown with grass and reeds. The walling which encloses the islet is well preserved and descends vertically below the water?s surface for 0.6m, giving it an average height of 1.3m. The walling still retains its vertical face except for short 1-1.5m lengths in the NW and SE quadrants which have tumbled outwards into the water. Probing through the vegetation has revealed that the walling has an inner face, small 1m sections of which are visible at several points.

The base of the walling rests in the centre of a circular mound of stone, measuring 17.8m N-S by 22m E-W transversely, the surface of which was c 1m below the water level at the time of survey. This mound of medium-sized, well-rounded stone rises above the surrounding loch bed by 0.8m and provides a walkway around the central structure roughly 2m in width.

Sponsors: Edinburgh University Archaeology Department, Holley & Associates.

M W Holley 1996


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