MHG608 - Promontory Dun, Sgarbach


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

  • PROMONTORY FORT (Early Iron Age to Pictish - 550 BC? to 900 AD?)
  • (Alternate Type) DUN (Early Iron Age to Pictish - 550 BC? to 900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Called "tumulus" on 1st ed OS and "dun" on 2nd ed OS - HAW 6/2004

ND36SE 5 3729 6375 Dun (NR) OS 1:10,000 map, (1973)

This is apparently a promontory dun, more closely allied to those of Western Isles than to any local site.
R W Feachem 1963.

It consists of a cliff-girt headland cut off by well-constructed drystone wall, some 62ft long, 12.5ft thick, and about 4ft high. Somewhat to east of centre, wall is pierced by a passage with door-checks, door-sill and bar-hole. 'At inner end of passage, and to left, some 4ft back from it, is an oval chamber, measuring c 10ft by 7ft'. A hearth defined by flags set on end, and containing ashes, food refuse and fragments of pottery, was located in rear of entrance. A drain passed from interior outwards below floor of the entrance passage. Site excavated by Sir Francis Tress Barry.
RCAHMS 1911, visited 1910.

This is a ruined dun. It is generally as described above except that this east bar hole and door-check have been destroyed and hearth was not evident at investigation.
Surveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (RD) 14th September, 1965.

A blockhouse-type structure on an L-shaped promontory whose seaward section lies parallel with mainland, which is slightly higher (of Dun Whairtein: NC86NE 1). Unlike others of its type on mainland, Sgarbach appears to have been a complete barrier across promontory; and while it is not known if it contained a ground gallery, it is massive enough to have done so. The defence now appears as a broad mound across isthmus and various mounds on either side of rampart are probably excavation spoil. It is probably to be dated not much before the 1st century BC, if not within it.
R G Lamb 1980.

Very badly damaged by stone removal and collapse.
C E Batey 1982.

A dun, as described by previous authorities.
Visited by OS (NKB) 22nd July, 1982.

"Promontory fort of a type related to Midhowe forework and ultimately to Shetland blockhouses"
Info from R Lamb 1980.

The site is included in the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland online database. See link below for site entry. <1>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred ND 3728 6375 (100m by 100m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND36SE
Civil Parish CANISBAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (1)

  • VESSEL (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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