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Islay, Kintour, Dun Beag

Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Islay, Kintour, Dun Beag

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 38095

Site Number NR45SW 6

NGR NR 4317 5074

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/38095

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

NR45SW 6 4317 5074.

(NR 4324 5074) Dun Beag: Fort, entered at S and surrounded by a single stone wall 8ft to 10ft thick. Just within the S end are two hut circles 9ft to 10ft across within 3ft wide stone walls. The fort measures 300ft N-S by 117ft.

F Newall 1964.

At NR 4317 5074, occupying the rocky uneven summit of Dun Beag, a cliff-girt knoll, is a fort measuring internally 94.0m NE-SW by about 30.0m to 35.0m transversely at its widest point. The wall survives as an almost continuous line of outer facing stones up to 1.0m high backed by a rubble core 2.5m maximum width, and extends from the south extremity around the north rim of the summit and across the east side terminating at either end on steepening cliff.

Along the south and south-east sides where the cliffs are high but by no means impenetrable, there is a total absence of wall material. The entrance, of which no details can be seen, is in the west arc at the only practical point of access. The interior, comprising a series of natural terraces bounded by outcrop, is featureless except for two recent shelters or lambing pens on the lower, west terrace.

Surveyed at 1:10 000.

Visited by OS (NKB) 25 March 1979; Information from RCAHMS.

This fort occupies the summit and sw shoulder of Dun Beag, an elongated rocky ridge situated about 200m NW of the NW shore of Loch Cam a' Mhaoil and a similar distance S of the fort at Loch nan Clach. On all sides there are steep or precipitous rocky slopes, particularly on the SE, where the ground falls, almost without a break, some 60m to the shore of the loch; on the NW, however, the summit rises to a height of only 12m above the level of the adjacent ground.

Irregular on plan, the fort measures about 95m by 50m in greatest breadth within a single stone wall, which, for most of

the perimeter, is drawn along the margin of the summit; on the SW, however, it descends a little way to enclose a shelf of lower ground, and on the NE, where no traces survive, it is possible that the strength of the natural defences made a wall unnecessary. For much of the NW portion of its circuit the wall appears as a heavy band of debris, about 2m thick, in which the line of the outer face may be traced unbroken for considerable distances. The survival of several inner facing-stones on each side of the entrance and elsewhere at the SW end of the fort indicates that the original wall-thickness ranged between 1.5m and 2.7m.

Where best preserved, in a eullv near the N end of the NW side, the outer face stands to a maximum height of 1.7m in

ten courses, and a sector of the face immediately to the NE of the entrance is only slightly less impressive. Despite its state of preservation, however, the wall appears to have been constructed with less care, in respect of choice of material and method of construction, than is usually found in drystone fortifications of this kind. There is little evidence,

for example, of any attempt at levelling or pinning, or even the selection of suitably regular blocks of stone; moreover,

the wall-builders' wish to incorporate projecting outcrops in the fabric has led them to adopt an irregularity of course for

the defences which is unusual in a fort of this size.

The entrance appears to measure about 2.1m in width, but too little of the passage-walls survives to make it possible to

ascertain if they were rebated or not. The interior contains a number of rocky shelves and hollows which could have

provided suitable sites for houses, but none displays clear evidence of an artificial origin. Some of the irregular

depressions lying immediately within the wall may possibly be the result of quarrying to provide material for the

defences. The three subcircular stone-built structures whose ruined foundations can be seen on the lower shelf at the SW end of the fort, to the S of the entrance, appear to be of comparatively recent date.

RCAHMS 1984

Activities

Note (6 October 2014 - 23 May 2016)

Situated on Dun Beag, a precipitous local summit SW of the main bulk of An Dun, this fort has a single stone wall between 1.5m and 2.7m thick enclosing an area measuring 95m from NE to SW by a maximum of 50m transversely (0.31ha). The wall can be traced most of the way around the summit area, only disappearing along the precipitous slopes on the NE. Elsewhere along the NW the line of the outer face is almost continuous, in places towards the N and S ends standing as much as 1.7m high in ten courses. The entrance is at the southern end of the NW side, facing NW but essentially on the W of the interior. The only features visible within the interior are two shieling huts at the SW end, one of which has an attached enclosure.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 23 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2176

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