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Auchategan, Glendaruel

Settlement (Medieval), Settlement (Neolithic), Settlement(S) (Period Unassigned), Shieling Hut(S) (Post Medieval), Lithic Implement(S) (Flint)(Neolithic), Lithic Implement(S) (Pitchstone)(Neolithic), Unidentified Pottery (Neolithic)

Site Name Auchategan, Glendaruel

Classification Settlement (Medieval), Settlement (Neolithic), Settlement(S) (Period Unassigned), Shieling Hut(S) (Post Medieval), Lithic Implement(S) (Flint)(Neolithic), Lithic Implement(S) (Pitchstone)(Neolithic), Unidentified Pottery (Neolithic)

Canmore ID 40541

Site Number NS08SW 5

NGR NS 0007 8424

NGR Description NS 0007 8424 and NS 000 843

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes ( - 1976)

NS08SW 5 0007 8424.

NS 002 843. Excavations at this site, on a shelf of land near a burn, revealed three hut circles, possibly early shielings, with nothing to date them but half a quern. Below the huts was found a rectangular house and under this, the post holes of an earlier rectangular hut, built over the site of an early bloomery.

Below the floor of the rectangular house lay a small Bronze Age cist, containing fragments of burnt bone. Outside the area of the house and near the edge of the shelf of ground was an unusual semi-circular cairn in which was another Bronze Age cist. When this cairn and the other later buildings were removed, two Neolithic occupation levels were revealed. Each had post holes and hearths. Among the finds were many sherds of Ne pottery, a flint knife, a flint arrowhead, and two polished stone axes. At present they are in the possession of Cowal Arch Soc, but it is intended to present them to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland [NMAS].

Material taken from the Neolithic 2 level gave a carbon-14 dating of 2300 BC +/- 110, and material taken from the rectangular hut gave a

date of AD 660 +/- 100.

M Paterson 1870

NS 0007 8424. All that remains at this site are the foundations of a stone-built rectangular house, measuring 5.0m E-W x 2.4m. Elsewhere, the settlement has been totally destroyed.

Surveyed at 1:10560.

Visited by OS (IA) 24 November 1972

NS 0007 8424. The excavation of this site was carried out between 1967 and 1971 during which time all traces of occupation were completely removed. The rectangular house was considered to be of early medieval date (D N Marshall, Kames Garden Cottage, Port Bannatyne).

Visited by OS (BS) 2 November 1976


Field Visit (November 1986)

Excavations undertaken between 1967 and 1970 on a terrace on the E side of Glendaruel, 400m E of Clachan of Glendaruel, revealed a series of occupation-deposits beginning in Neolithic times. The earlier phases have been described in volume 6 of this Inventory, and the following description of the later phases is based on the published excavation report (en.1). The only visible remains are slight traces of a rectangular stone house in a forestry plantation.

Overlying a post-hole structure of period 3 there were a hearth which produced a radiocarbon determination of ad 660 ± 100 (GaK-2768), and an extensive scatter of coarse iron slag and furnace-bottoms, with a large flat stone which may have supported a bloomery bellows. A cobbled patch connected the site with a charcoal-pile.

Above this level there was a rectangular structure about 6m from E to W by 2.5m within drystone walls incorporating edge-set facing-slabs, heavily robbed on N and Wand nowhere more than one course in height. There was a blocked doorway 0.6m wide at the centre of the S side-wall, with traces of an opposed doorway in the N wall, and the floor-level W of the doorway was about 0.4m below that of the E half, where there was some evidence of a hearth. Immediately N of the building there were remains of a peat-stack which may have been associated with it.

The house was overlain by and had been robbed to provide material for three small huts of shieling type. The most substantial (hut 1) occupied the W half of the house and measured about 3.3m by 2.7m within walls incorporating some edge-set slabs, and apparently packed externally with turf. The entrance was in the S wall, with a hearth which may have been contemporary with it immediately outside to the w. Huts 2 and 3, which overlay the Sand N walls of the E half of the house, were fragmentary. The former was a circle about 2.4m in diameter, with the entrance apparently at the E, while only the W wall of hut 3 remained in situ. It contained evidence of hearths, and opened on the N to a cobbled area. The space between the three huts had been packed with turf.

About 70m NNE of the main site there was an oval structure (hut 4), about 5m from E to W by 2.5m within a robbed wall nowhere more than one course in height. There was an entrance at the centre of the S wall and a slightly raised area of paving at the E end, but there was no evidence of its function.

No significant dating-material was associated with any of these structures, but the rectangular house may have been of medieval or sub-medieval date, while the later huts were probably shieling-huts. The site lay on the township of Auchategan, whose present dwelling is in the valley-bottom 0.9km to the N (NR 999851), in or near the position indicated on Roy's Map of about 1750. In 1693 the township belonged to the Campbell of Glendaruel estate and four tenants were assessed for hearth-tax (en.2).

RCAHMS 1992, visited November 1986

Field Visit (November 1986)

Excavations were undertaken between 1967 and 1970 on a terrace on the E side of the valley of the River Ruel at a point 380m E of Glendaruel Hotel, in order to examine a site thought to be St Modan's Chapel; the chapel was not discovered, but the work revealed a series of occupation deposits from Neolithic to recent times, and the following account is a summary of the published report (Marshall 1980). Only the early levels will be described here (Periods 1-4), because the later levels -Period 5 (a rectangular stone house), Period 6 (a complex of shieling-huts), and Hut 4 - fall beyond the chronological span of the Argyll Inventory, Volume 6 (RCAHMS 1988). Only the outline of one of the later rectangular structures can still be detected within a forestry plantation.

Two phases of Neolithic occupation were discovered (Period 1), the earlier represented by traces of two ill-defined huts, which were identified as cleared areas on the rock surface, with hearths and post-holes. In the second phase there was a series of well-built hearths, associated with further post-holes and an extensive collection of Neolithic artefacts (pottery, flint, pitchstone, 'pot-lids' and a greenstone axe). Charcoal from a hearth belonging to the second Neolithic horizon provided a radiocarbon determination of 2300bc +- 110 (I-4705). The flint artefacts included knives, scrapers and arrowheads in distinctive Neolithic forms; sherds of about sixty vessels were represented, notably carinated and open bowls in Grimston style.

Period 2 remains comprised a hearth, a structure resembling a cist and an unusual semicircular cairn measuring about 4.5m by 2.8m, which contained a second cist-like feature. The body of the cairn consisted of stones, sand and occupation debris from the Neolithic horizon, and the perimeter had been carefully constructed of long slabs. The cist, which lay near the centre of the straight side, was aligned NW and SE and measured about 0.55m by 0.45m and about 0.45m in depth; it contained earth, flecks of charcoal and one tiny sherd of pottery, with stones laid out on top of the fill. The second cist, situated about 4.4m to the ESE, was aligned N and S, and measured about 0.35m by 0.3m internally. Both cists were of unusual construction in that one end was composed of several stones and was lower than the other three sides; in neither case was there a capstone. Fragments of burnt were discovered both above and below the stones which covered the earthy fill-material.

Period 3 was represented by a series of post-holes up to 0.47m deep and packed with long narrow stones, defining a structure which measured about 5.5m by 4.3m; the timber superstructure was evidently clad with panels of wattle and daub. The only finds were two discs of schist, perhaps 'pot-lids', and two rubbing-stones. The radiocarbon determination for the hearth was later than Period 3 but earlier than the rectangular stone house of Period 5, is ad 660 +- 100 (GaK -2768).

Period 4 was represented by the debris of an iron-working site, the main focus of which was uncertain, but it was stratigraphically earlier than the rectangular stone house of Period 5.

Visited November 1986



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