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Islay, Ardmore, An Dun

Dun (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Islay, Ardmore, An Dun

Classification Dun (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Port Na Cille

Canmore ID 38055

Site Number NR45SE 15

NGR NR 4707 5029

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kildalton And Oa
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR45SE 15 4707 5029

(NR 4707 5028) An Dun (NR)

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

An Dun [NR]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1981.

(East coast). Dun, Ardmore. From the flat ground at the head of the rock-girt bay at Port na Cille a mass of rock rises vertically about 12ft [3.7m] on the landward side and 18ft [5.5m] from the water. A massive stone wall encircles its summit, with an over-all area of 66ft [20.1m] by 83ft [9.1m], clefts in the rock being carefully blocked by well-preserved walls. At the NE end, a built stair leads from the land through a cleft into the interior.

This dun is one of those 'admirably suited to be pirates' strongholds, with coves hidden in chasms of the rock where coracles might shelter.'

(This is one of the five duns that are noted in 3½ miles [5.6km] of coast between the E spur of Beinn Bheigeir and the SE corner of the island).

V G Childe 1935, no. 6.

'An Dun': A dun encompassing the highest ground on a rocky stack, and measuring some 15.0m, NE-SW by 8.5m over a ragged sparse bank of overgrown wall rubble; a stretch of outer-facing base course is visible on the north-west, and in the east corner is a probable inner-facing slab; the entrance must have been in the north-east end.

Entry to the plateau of the stack is up the north-east side by a setting of five boulders to form rough steps. The top step intrudes on a linear scatter of stones lying WNW-ESE which appears to be the remains of a horned outwork. At the bottom of the stack, two vulnerable clefts in the rock, one on the south-east the other on the north, are separately walled across for protection.

This walling is the best preserved feature of the site and stands to over 1.0m high in both instances.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (JM) 19 March 1979; (undated) information from RCAHMS.

The remains of a dun are situated on a prominent rock stack, which rises from the shore 500m SE of Ardmore. Access to the top of the stack is possible only from the NE, where five boulders were laid in position to form rough steps (a on RCAHMS plan C) leading up a natural crevice and on to a sloping sheet of rock, which in turn provides the final approach to the summit.

The dun wall, which encloses the summit of the stack, is represented by a thin band of rubble with a few outer facirig-

stones visible round the W half. The interior is so heavily overgrown that it is not possible to estimate the original

thickness of the wall. The entrance must have been on the NE, across a natural causeway at the head of a cleft in the rock running in from the SE.

Additional protection to cover the approach to the entrance was provided by an outer wall. The best-preserved

section of this outwork is on the N, where a length of walling linking two natural rock outcrops survives with its outer face still standing to a height of 1-2m in nine courses; elsewhere, to the NE, it has been reduced to two slight mounds of debris, one on each side of the flight of boulder-steps already mentioned.

On the ESE, some 5m below the level of the interior and 2m below the base of the dun wall, another isolated stretch of walling was drawn across a gap between two rock-faces to block a possible line of approach from the sea; at its N end, five courses of the outer face still stand 1m high.

RCAHMS 1984, visited May 1977.


Field Visit (23 May 1934 - 25 May 1934)

Visited by Childe in 1934.

V G Childe 1935


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