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Islay, Carnduncan

Cairn (Bronze Age)

Site Name Islay, Carnduncan

Classification Cairn (Bronze Age)

Canmore ID 37384

Site Number NR26NW 12

NGR NR 2399 6722

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NR26NW 12 2399 6722.

NR 2402 6721. A fine round cairn, slightly robbed on top, but with the burial probably still intact. It measures 17m in diameter and 1.7m in height and has a now discont- inuous kerb of carefully selected large blocks.

F Celoria 1960; Information from RCAHMS to OS.

NR 2402 6720. A cairn situated on level ground near the crest of a gentle scarp has commanding views to the W. Turf covered and flat topped it is 17.0m overall diameter and 1.3m high with an intermittent peristalith. A large stone lying 5.0m outside the perimeter of the cairn in the SW appears to be a displaced kerb stone.

Survey at 1:10 000.

Visited by OS (T R G) 13 May 1978.

This cairn stands in pastureland 350m W of Carnduncan and 30m NE of the public road from Loch Indaal to Sanaigmore It measures 17m in diameter and although it has been reduced by stone-robbing, particularly on the E, it still survives to a height of 1.7m. A notable feature is the carefully chosen series of large boulders, up to 0.9m wide and 0.5m high, that form a kerb round the perimeter; the kerb is now discontinuous, and it is likely that the four dislodge' boulders shown on the plan originally belonged to it.



Field Visit (19 March 2017)

NR 2402 6721 (NR26NW 12) This project was designed to support the schools to undertake their own archaeological fieldwork on Islay. Each school ‘adopted’ a monument in their vicinity, with Jura children joining in with Keills Primary School on Islay. The children worked with a team of professional archaeologists to undertake site surveys. They were introduced to several archaeological recording techniques and were asked to think about the landscape, and how it might have changed over time. In May 2017 the schools held a joint exhibition in the Gaelic College, which championed the children’s achievements and creations, some

of which are featured on the Islay Heritage website (http://

Carnduncan (Càrn Dhonnchaidh) cairn is a Bronze Age kerbed cairn overlooking Loch Gorm. At 17m in diameter it is one of the largest and the best preserved examples of this type on Islay. Because of its good preservation, and a possible association with the nearby Bronze Age settlement and field system at An Sidhean, Carnduncan cairn has been

designated as a scheduled monument (SM6247). On 19 March 2017 Port Charlotte Primary School pupils helped to carry out detailed topographic, photographic and electrical resistance survey of the site, thus updating the RCAHMS’s survey from the 1970s.

The results of the survey suggest that not all parts of the cairn were constructed in the same way, which could mean that there were multiple phases of construction and modification. A small hut or a shelter was inserted into the remains of the cairn at a later date. Although the resistivity

survey offers some clues about the composition of the cairn, this only relates to its uppermost layers. Being relatively well preserved and standing up to 1.5m high in relation to the surrounding ground, the cairn is too substantial for the lower levels to be reached by the method used. Alternative geophysical techniques with deeper penetration, such as

ground penetrating radar (GPR) and electrical resistance tomography (ERT) would be better suited alternatives for any future geophysical work on the monument.

Archive and report: NRHE

Funder: Ian Mactaggart Trust

Darko Maricevic, Alexandra Knox, Robert Fry, Sarah Lambert-Gates and Steven Mithen – Islay Heritage

(Source: DES, Volume 18)


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