MHG5019 - Dun Ardtreck, Skye


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • DUN (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NG33NW 5 3350 3581.

(NG 3350 3581) Dun Ardtreck (NR) (Galleried) (NAT)
OS 6" map, (1969)

Dun Ardtreck, a galleried dun or semi-broch, excavated by Mackie in 1964 and 1965 as part of an exercise to establish the development of the broch, the dun's material culture having suggested affinities with the pre-broch forts of Clickhimin (HU44SE 2).
The dun stands on an isolated rocky knoll cut off from the surrounding moorland by a depression of lower marshy ground. The landward side of the knoll is bounded by precipitous rock faces except on the SE where a small cleft has been used for the outer gate-way. An outer wall runs along much of the edge of the knoll on the landward side. It was 6' thick and its inner face stood up to 3 1/2' high although this was completely hidden by later accumulations of rubble and debris. The gateway was 5'wide with parallel sides which bore no signs of door-checks. There is no reason to doubt its contemporaneity with the dun.
The dun itself - D-shaped in plan with the straight side formed by the cliff-edge - occupies the highest point of the sharply sloping rock, so that while the wall near the cliff-edge was reduced to one course of masonry, the outer face on the landward side rose to 8' or more. It was deduced that the wall had reached a height of at least 16'.
It had been built in two stages - a roughly level platform 19' in maximum width retained by a battered outer face of massive boulders was constructed and on this was set the galleried wall. Charcoal from the platform produced a date of 115BC.The wall survived to a maximum height of only 3' and there was no evidence to suggest the former existence of upper mural galleries.
The dun entrance, 3'3" wide,was checked for a door whose iron handle was recovered. The entrance to a crudely built guard cell led off to the right behind the door-checks.
The excavations indicated that the occupation of the dun had been spasmodic, the primary occupation being very short and there were indications that it had ended in violence and destruction. There were very few finds from this period.
A secondary occupation, its beginnings dated from Antonine sherds to about the middle of the 2nd century AD involved minor alterations. The outer court showed signs of sporadic occupation in this period and the foundations of a possible hut were identified, but the main occupation was in the interior of the dun and the many finds were all domestic, including iron tools, bronze ornaments and glass-paste ring-heads as well as Samian sherds and a piece of Roman melon bead.
The pottery included several of the styles which have been suggested for the Hebridean Iron Age and many incised sherds were of Vaul-ware pottery vases.
RCAHMS 1928; E W MacKie 1965; 1967; 1969; Curr Archaeol 1967.

An article on the results of the 1964 and 1965 excavations at this site was published in 2000 by Mackie. See link below to access this PSAS article. <2>

This site was included in the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland online database. See link below for site entry. <3>

The finds from the 1964/5 excavations are within the the Hunterian Museum and are listed in their online catalogue. These comprised hammer stones, pottery, glass and amber beads, tools and implements, animal remains, quern stones, bone tools, a fish gorge, crucibles, copper alloy pins, a penannular ring, knives, whetstones, slag, a chain, nails, a iron spearhead, copper alloy disc, rods, needles, mounts, finger ring, spindle whorls, strike-a-light and pallettes. See link below. <4>

Sources/Archives (23)



Grid reference Centred NG 3350 3581 (80m by 80m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG33NW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish BRACADALE

Finds (23)

  • SHERD (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SHERD (Roman - 79 AD to 409 AD)
  • ROTARY QUERN (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • BLADE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SLAG (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • CRUCIBLE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • BEAD (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • FISH GORGE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • HANDLE (Roman - 79 AD to 409 AD)
  • AXE HAMMER (Roman - 79 AD to 409 AD)
  • BEAD (Roman - 79 AD to 409 AD)
  • VESSEL (Roman - 79 AD to 409 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Roman - 79 AD to 409 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • RING (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • PIN (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • PENDANT (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • AWL (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SHERD (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (5)

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