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Dun (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Wallstale

Classification Dun (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 46232

Site Number NS79SE 48

NGR NS 7744 9085

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Stirling
  • Parish St Ninians
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Stirling
  • Former County Stirlingshire

Archaeology Notes

NS79SE 48 7744 9085.

NS 7744 9085. An almost circular dun (R W Feachem, RCAHMS) about 45' in diameter within a wall about 11' thick, situated on a spur.

Visited by OS (JLD) 11 May 1953

Except on the ESE where the entrance was probably situated, the wall can be traced continuously by patches of rubble core, and round the east half outer facing stones are visible up to a maximum height of four courses. In contrast, the inner face is exposed for only a short distance on the ENE. The interior is featureless. On the NW the dun is defended by a rock-cut ditch 26'wide and 5'6" deep which traverses the spur.

Excavation by Thomson in June 1965 confirmed the structure of the wall and disclosed paving in the courtyard. Finds included fragments of both a saddle and a rotary quern and a piece of slag.

RCAHMS 1963, visited 1953; J K Thomson 1965

A dun as described.

Visited by OS (JP) 11 December 1973

NS 774 908 This dun measures 1 3.7m in diameter within a wall 3.3m thick and on the NW there is a rock-cut ditch.

RCAHMS 1979, visited September 1978

A dyke of massive boulders runs downhill (to the E) from this dun. 72m long overall, its exact relationship with the dun is obscured by a fallen tree but can be traced to within 4m of the external wall face. The dyke incorporates two (clearance) cairns in its length and a 2.8m wide gap which is associated with a 10m long cross dyke, perpendicular to the main dyke.

Other clearance cairns can be seen in the area and another line of boulders, parallel to the dyke, runs along the foot of Gillies Hill nearby but may be associated with a fairly modern track. A hollow way cuts the Wallstale dyke beside the clearance cairn which marks its terminus.

N Aitchison 1982


Field Visit (7 May 1953)

NS79SE 774 909 (unnoted)

Dun, Wallstale.

This dun is situated 160 yds. N. of Wallstale farmhouse, on a spur which projects southwards from Gillies Hill and at a height of a little over 400 ft. O.D. It is almost circular on plan (Fig. 22), measuring about 45 ft. in diameter within a ruined stonewall some 11 ft. in thickness. Except on the ESE. side, where the entrance was probably situated, the wall can be traced continuously by patches of rubble core, and round the E. half outer facing-stones are visible up to a maximum height of four courses. In contrast, the inner face is only exposed for a short distance on the ENE. The interior of the dun is featureless.

On the NW. side the dun is protected by a rock-cut ditch of substantial proportions which traverses the spur; it measures 26 ft. in width at the top and the scarp is 5 ft. 6 in. in depth.

RCAHMS 1963, visited 7 May 1953.

Reference (1957)

This site is noted in the ‘List of monuments discovered during the survey of marginal land (1951-5)’ (RCAHMS 1957, xiv-xviii).

Information from RCAHMS (GFG), 24 October 2012.

Excavation (June 1965)

Wallstale, Polmale Dun.

The dun, circular in plan, has an internal diameter of c. 45ft. and a stone wall c. 11ft, thick, some internal facing blocks of which are visible on the surface. It is situated 160 yards N. of Wallstale Farm at a height of just over 400ft. O.D.

Excavation was begun in June 1965. A trench was cut across the line of the dun wall and into the interior. This disclosed that the wall, circ. 11ft, wide, was composed of an inner and outer face of large blocks, set on the natural rock, with a filling of pitched stones. A space of 2ft. 3in. separated the inner face of the wall from a stone kerb, beyond which lay an area of flat stone flags. These rested on knobs of natural rock with an occasional dressed stone laid in between the points of rock to help level up the slabs. Towards the central axis of the site, in line with the presumed entrance on the SE. sector of the dun, was an area of paving slabs—-very neatly laid and fitted—lying against an edge of rock outcrop. Finds included a fragment each of both rotary and saddle type quern-stones, a piece of slag and a stone with a groove on it possibly for sharpening needles?

James K Thompson, Stirling Field and Archaeological Society

(DES 1965, 38-9)

Excavation (June 1967)

Wallstale, Polmale Dun.

Following a preliminary investigation in 1965 (DES, 1965, pp. 38-39), a second season of excavation was carried out on the site in June 1967. The entrance passage is paved for the inner two thirds of its length of 15' 6" and is 3' wide at the outer end and 4' 8" at the inner. Features of the passage are: a step, a pair of door checks in the side walls and a blocking stone, designed to narrow the passage, placed on its S side between the step and the inner end. A second step, some 18" beyond the passage within the dun, leads to a slab paved area. The wall on either side of the passage is c. 14' 8" in width as compared to 11' elsewhere. No evidence of occupation or dating was recovered.

James K Thompson

(DES 1967, 51)


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