MHG55867 - Galleried Dun - Comar Wood, Kilmorack


A well preserved enclosed galleried dun was identified by Forest District staff in 2010 in Comar Wood, Kilmorack.

Type and Period (1)

  • DUN (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD) + Sci.Date

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A well preserved enclosed galleried dun was identified by Forest District staff in 2010. The dun is 11m in diameter within a massive dry stone wall c4.8m thick and up to 1.8m high. It is situated on a knoll on a slight terrace on the lower SE-facing slopes of Strath Glass, above and to the NE of the River Glass. The dun is well preserved, with several stretches of wall courses visible both externally and internally. There is a c1.8m wide entrance on the W and several possible galleries are visible as depressions in the wall. A defensive outwork is visible enclosing the dun on its N, S and W sides. This wall is c2.5m thick and up to 1.5m high and it has an entrance on its NE side. The ESE-facing leading edge of the terrace is defined by steep rock outcrops. Two small post-medieval buildings have been built into the spread tumble from the dun and its outwork. The dun is situated within thinned mature conifers, due for clear felling within the next few years. There is also visible wind blow occurring upon the wall of the outwork and in the enclosure. In order to inform future forest management a detailed measured survey of the dun was undertaken using plane table and alidade. <1>

A topographic survey and an excavation were carried out between August and November 2013 by Ross and Cromarty Archaeological Services and West Coast Archaeological Services to record the site and establish both the nature and extent of any surviving archaeological deposits and any damage caused by afforestation; securely date the site and understand its form and function; enhance the Historic Environment Record and Forest Design Plan and contribute to the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework. The site was interpreted as a galleried dun with an unusually well-defined defensive outwork. Later buildings of probable post-medieval date have been built into the rubble of the dun and outwork. The excavations revealed that the dun had been constructed during the second half of the 1st millennium BC. Evidence for two burning events was uncovered, after both of which the site was rebuilt and reused for several centuries before abandonment. Posthole alignments in the entrance passage and interior courtyard showed evidence for the construction of timber structures inside both areas. Other structural evidence uncovered included later interior walling used to constrict the courtyard space and two successive central slab-built hearths, the last of which contained broken quern fragments. Opposite the dun entrance on the west side, was an entrance recess through the outer enclosure wall, while on the east side of the dun evidence for an opposing entrance passage was uncovered. The poorly constructed walls revealed inconclusive evidence for intramural gallery spaces and only a small amount of artefactual material was recovered.

Although poorly built walling and significant tree root disturbance caused difficulty for the excavators, the results of the evaluation and post-excavation analysis have expanded the understanding of this site type, a prominently sited roofed structure which may have been visited intermittently for ceremonial or defensive purposes. The excavation results also included evidence for Mesolithic forest clearance on the site and later buildings of an unknown date within the collapse. <2> <3>

Prior, during and after excavation in 2013, an aerial photographic survey of the site was carried out by Edward Martin Photography. <4>

The site has been published on-line as No.23 in the 'Archaeology Reports Online' series. See link below to this report for detailed discussion of the site, including finds, enviromental evidence and radiocarbon dates. <5>

This site was included in the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland online database. See link below for site entry. <6>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred NH 3251 3101 (61m by 60m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH33SW
Civil Parish KILMORACK
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (7)

  • ROTARY QUERN (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SLAG (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • PEG (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (4)

External Links (3)

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