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Islay, Dun Chroisprig

Dun (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Islay, Dun Chroisprig

Classification Dun (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 37467

Site Number NR26SW 5

NGR NR 2073 6173

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

NR26SW 5 2073 6173

(NR 2074 6173) Dun Chroisprig (NR)

OS 6" map, Argyllshire, 2nd ed., (1900).

Dun Chroisprig [NR]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1981.

(West coast). Dun Chroisprig, perched on a spur about half-way down a 200ft [61m] preceipice, and about 50yds [46m] from [a] sandy shore. Most of the stone wall has fallen down the precipice.

This dun is noteworthy for being one of those that are 'overlooked by high ground immediately in their rear.'

V G Childe 1935, no. 21.

A dun, with outworks, situated on a rocky knoll linked to cliffs by a narrow spine of rock. The wall mainly follows the outline of the summit to enclose a roughly circular area 12m in diameter, and measures 3.5m in average thickness. It is best preerved on the N where it stands 1.1m high. The entrance is on the NNW. There is a discontinuous gallery 1m wide in the thickness of the wall on the N and S. An outer wall can be traced intermittently on the ESE, E, NW and W, before it makes an abrupt change of diretion on the SW,to run towards the dun wall. There may have been a gateway on the NW and there is reconstruction on the ESE and SW. Newall notes 'at least one round house' enclosed by a complex of walls in the gulley below and to the E of the dun.

S Piggott and C M Piggott 1948; F Newall 1966; (undated) information in RCAHMS.

This dun and its outworks are situated 1.8 km SW of Kilchoman on a rocky knoll which stands out from the foot

of high cliffs immediately to the SE. Linked to the cliffs by a narrow spine of rock, the knoll has steep sides falling some

20m to level ground below, much of its NE side being a sheer rock face. The easiest approach is from the NNW over a series of narrow terraces.

The dun wall, which for most of its course follows the outline of the summit of the knoll to enclose a roughly

circular area 12m in diameter, is 3.5m in average thickness; on the SW, however, where the footings of the outer face are set well below the crest line of the summit, the amount of rubble that survives suggests that here the wall reached a

maximum thickness of about 5 m. On the N, where it is best preserved, the outer face stands to a height of 1.1m in five

courses and is neatly constructed of roughly rectangular blocks, measuring up to 0.7m by 0.3m and brought to their

courses with pinnings of small stones. Of the inner face only a single course is exposed above the debris that fills the

interior. The entrance is on the WNW; it is 1.5m wide, and the walls of the passage are visible to a height of 0.9m above the debris.

Within the thickness of the wall there is a gallery 1m in average width. The side-walls are built of uncoursed rubble

and, while for the most part they are exposed to a height of not more than 0.7m, for a short stretch on the s the inner

side-wall is 1.3m high. The gallery is not continuous, as two opposing rounded terminals, 2.5m apart, are clearly visible

on the E. From this point the N section of the gallery extends westward to within l-6m of the dun's entrance; at least two

of the lintel-stones, each measuring about 0.9m by 0.5m and 0-1 m in thickness, remain in position at the E terminal,

supported by rough corbelling. The S section of the gallery, which seems to be set at a higher level than the other, can be traced for a length of about 11m.

Additional protection was provided by an outer wall, of which traces can be seen intermittently as shown on the plan.

On the ESE it was built along the NW edge of a natural cleft cutting transversely across the narrow spine of rock that

joins the knoll to the foot of the cliffs. An unusual feature of this sector is the presence of parts of two distinct walls, the outer face of the one situated about 1m behind that of the other. There is little doubt that the more easterly of the two is an original outwork, but excavation would be needed to establish the relation between it and the more westerly

element; although the latter was a substantial structure it is noticeably inferior in quality to most of the other walling on

the site, and its rubble core material appears to overlie the remains of the dun wall. At the NE end of the natural cleft the outwork turns sharply to the NW to follow the line of the natural crest for about 8m, the outer face standing up to

0.9m in height. For some distance beyond this point no trace of walling survives, but intermittent stretches of outer facing-stones reappear on the outer edge of the highest natural terrace below the dun on the NW side. From there, after a gap which may mark the position of an original entrance, a spread of rubble core material, accompanied in places by short stretches of the outer face, up to 1.2m high, continues along the top of the steep scree-covered slopes on the w before making an abrupt change of direction to run towards the dun wall on the SW. Near the SW angle a single course of what may be an internal revetment is exposed to a height of 0.6m for a length of about 1.5m. A little to the NE, and inside the line of the outwork, a short detached length of walling appears to form the E side of an entrance-passage, of which the other side is roughly defined by a band of rubble, which links it with the outwork near its sw angle and near a small rectangular enclosure of recent date. It is difficult to regard this piece of walling as an original feature, and it is almost certainly a reconstruction made, possibly, at the same time as the inner of the two walls already mentioned ESE of the dun.

RCAHMS 1984, visited May 1976

A dun, generally as described.

There is a no trace of any round house or 'complex of walls' to the E of the dun.

Surveyed at 1:10 000.

Visited by OS (B S) 8 May 1978.


Field Visit (23 May 1934 - 25 May 1934)

Visited by Childe in 1934.

V G Childe 1935


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