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Record details

ID:MHG4348
Type of record:Monument
Name:Dun Deardail, Glen Nevis, Lochaber
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Summary

A vitrified fort on the sloping summit of an eminence on the western flank of Glen Nevis.

Images

Dun deardail, inner walls (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilDun deardail, inner walls (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilDun Deardail, interior (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilDun Deardail, view into glen (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilDun deardail, inner walls (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilDun deardail, long view (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilDun deardail, wall (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilDun deardail, general view of interior (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilDun Deardail, view to glen (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilDun Deardail, vitrification (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland Council

Reports

Sites and Monuments Record Card  © Highland Council (File size: 162 KB)Report  © Please contact Highland Council for details (File size: 428 KB)Report  © Please contact Highland Council for details (File size: 154 KB)Report  © Please contact Highland Council for details (File size: 31 KB)Topographic survey of five Pictish forts in the Highlands  © Headland Archaeology Ltd (File size: 1772 KB)
Grid Reference:NN 1270 7012
Map Sheet:NN17SW
Civil Parish:KILMALLIE
Geographical Area:LOCHABER

Monument Types

Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 2893: An Dun, fort, Dun Deardail

Other References/Statuses

  • Historic Environment Record: MHG4348
  • NMRS NUMLINK Reference: 23727
  • NMRS Record Details: NN17SW6 DUN DEARDAIL
  • Old SMR Reference Number: NN17SW0006

Full description

NN17SW 6 1270 7012.

(NN 1270 7012) Dun Deardail (NR) (Remains of Vitrified Fort) (NAT)
OS 6" map (1902)

Dun Deardail, a vitrified fort, occupies the sloping summit of an eminence on the W flank of Glen Nevis. It is near-pear-shaped on plan with its long axis lying ENE-WSW, and measures internally c.46.0m by c.27.0m at its widest in the WSW and c.11.0m at the narrowest part in the ENE. The ruinous stone wall is spread to a maximum of c.8.0m in the N, and to a minumum of c.4.5m at the entrance in the W, with a maximum height of c.2.5m, and shows numerous lumps of vitrifaction, but no evidence of built masonry. The interior slopes down unevenly from E to W, with, in the E, two stony scarps turning N-S supporting two level platforms. The lower of these is presumably what RCAHMS (MSs notes, 3 July 1956, R W Feachem) describes as "a secondary internal division, possibly recent", but there is nothing to show that it is not contemporary with the fort. The entrance, marked by a gap at the lowest point in the wall, shows no trace of "a wall foundation 23ft long flanking its S side" described by Christison (1889). A faint path up the NW slope to the entrance is probably the original approach.
Around the top of a lower knoll approximately 120.0m N of the fort are traces of a wall, noted by Christison and described by Feachem as an outer defence, but by OS (ASP; 18 July 1961) as natural. It appears to be the scant remains of an associated enclosure wall rather than a defence, and can be traced around the E, N and W sides of the knoll. At each end it disappears in marshy ground at the base of the eminence on which the fort stands. Traces of what is probably a continuation of the same wall occur to the S of the fort and here it seems to have terminated on the rock face forming part of the SE defences. Within this enclosure, at the base of the N slopes of the fort beside a marshy area, is a circular depression c.4.0m diameter, c.0.5m deep which is probably a well or cistern. Feachen compares this enclosure wall with a similar structure at Torr Dhuin, Auchteraw, Invernessshire (NH30NW), and it is similar, although on a smaller scale, to that at Tap o'Noth, Banffshire. (NJ42NE 1).
The name, now spelled Dun Deardail, has been in dispute in the past being published as Dundbhairdghall on OS 6" 1873, and noted as Deardinl and Dun dearg suil by MacCulloch, and Dun dear duil by W Johnson (Plan of the Lordship of Lochaber, 1831; West Highland Museum, Fort William). Surveyed at 1/10,000.
Visited by OS (AA) 18 May 1970

The site was visited and photographed by a member of the Highland Council in or prior to April 1994. <1> <2> <3> <4> <5> <6> <7> <8> <9> <10>

A topographic archaeological survey was carried out by Headland between September 2010 and February 2011 as part of a Forestry Commission project to survey five Iron Age forts, four of which were in Highland region. <11>


Williams, J, 1777, An account of some remarkable ancient ruins, lately discovered in the highlands and northern parts of Scotland: in a series of letters to G.C.M. Esq., 38 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2940.


Cardonnel, A de, 1788, Picturesque antiquities of Scotland, vol. ii, p. 6 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2030.


Christison, D, 1889, 'The duns and forts of Lorne, Nether Lochaber, and the neighbourhood'', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 23 1888-9, p.368-432, 371-3 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG3011.


Cotton, M A, 1954, 'British camps with timbered-laced ramparts', Archaeol J, Vol. 111, pp 26-105, 78 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG288.


Nisbet, H C, 1975, 'A geological approach to vitrified forts, part II: bedrock and building stone', Science and Archaeology, Vol 15, pp 3-16, p 13, no. 40 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG43.


MacKie, E W, 1976, 'The vitrified forts of Scotland' in Harding, D W (ed) Hillforts: later prehistoric earthworks in Britain, London, 234 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG3148.


Feachem, R W, 1977, Guide to prehistoric Scotland, 127 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2188.


<1> Highand Council, 1994, Dun Deardail, Vitrification (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9978.


<2> Highand Council, 1994, Dun Deardail, interior (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9417.


<3> Highland Council, 1994, Dun Deardail, Glen Nevis, Long View (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9422.


<4> Highand Council, 1994, Dun Deardail, general view interior (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9428.


<5> Highand Council, 1994, Dun Deardail, interior (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9423.


<6> Highand Council, 1994, Dun Deardail, interior (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9411.


<7> Highand Council, 1994, Dun Deardail, wall (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9427.


<8> Highand Council, 1994, Dun Deardail, walls (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9416.


<9> Highand Council, 1994, Dun Deardail, view across glen (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9410.


<10> Highand Council, 1994, Dun Deardail, view to glen (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9429.


<11> Dalland, M and van Wessel, J, 2011, A Topographic Archaeological Survey of Five Pictish Forts in the Highlands (Text/Report/Fieldwork Report). SHG25249.

Related Monument/Building records - none

Related Investigations

EHG3492Topographic survey of Dun Deardail, Fort William (Ref:PFHS10)

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