MHG6472 - Dun Liath - Dun


No summary available.

Type and Period (4)

  • HUT CIRCLE (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • FINDSPOT (Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC? to 551 BC?)
  • DUN (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • FORT? (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2400 BC? to 560 AD?)

Protected Status

Full Description

Dun Liath (NR) OS 6"map, (1966)

Dun Liath, a galleried dun, occupying the summit of a rocky ridge with natural defences on the N, E and W, and an approach by a gradual rise on the S.
The enceinte measures 150' by 80' within a wall 8' - 12' thick and galleried on the N, E, and S but only about 5' thick on the W where it is now almost obliterated. It still stands about 6' high on the S, and considerable lengths of the lower courses of the outer face remain in position on the E in which side the entrance has been. A hut circle 6' in internal diameter lies 10' within the S wall.
An outer defence in the shape of a line of large stones set on end follows an intermittent low outcrop of rock across the approach at a distance of from 15' to 19' from the dun, and Feachem mentions a row of earthfast stones like a diminutive 'chevaux de frise' outside the dun on the S.
At a distance of about 100' from the dun on the land-ward side Mackie notes a stone wall - "almost certainly an outer defence" - crossing a broad flat depression. It has a vertical face only on the side away from the dun with whose wall it runs parallel. It terminates in a marsh at one end and in a steep declivity leading down to the beach at the other. The dun was excavated by Mackie during 1964-5 and pottery sherds from a secondary domestic context compare with the characteristic pottery of the pre-broch fort levels at Clickhimin (HU44SE 2). A polished stone macehead from the stie is in Dundee Museum (Acc No: 1956-370).
RCAHMS 1928; R W Feachem 1963; E W MacKie 1965; H Coutts 1971.

On size Dun Liath must be regarded as a galleried fort. It is generally as planned by the RCAHMS, but the recent excavation has revealed that a corbelled cell, entered from within the fort, lied immediately S of the entrance. A line of stones between this and the entrance appears to be a medial stabilising wall. A stone abutting from the N side of the entrance passage may be a door jamb but there is no sign of a corresponding one on the S side, although there are indications that the outside part of the entrance passage has been rebuilt. The alleged hut circle within the fort is fortuitous tumble.
The row of stones, like a chevaux de frise according to Feachem, are 1.0m outside and parallel to the galleried wall in the S. Three in number, they are about 0.4m high and 0.2m wide.
The outer defence noted by RCAHMS is more likely to be the remains of the wall of an earlier fort. All that survives is the intermittent outer face of earthfast boulders about 6.0m outside the SE and S arcs of the galleried wall.
Below and about 9.0m outside the galleried wall in the NE is another wall about 2.5m average width and 29.0m long. This wall and another further to the E (described by Mackie as a contemporary outer defence) are undoubtedly associated with the remains of depopulated buildings and enclosures around the NE, SE and S arc of the fort.
Visited by OS (I S S) 15 September 1971.

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

GIS spatial data created 2018 based on aerial photography captured 1999-2009. <2>

There are several finds listed in the Hunterian Museum Catalogue. These comprise pottery (including a small restored pot), a socketed iron blade or sickle, an unidentified iron tool and a hammer stone. Acc. Nos. GLAHM:A.1964.53-59. <3>

See link below to HES Canmore record for plans of site.

Sources/Archives (7)



Grid reference Centred NG 3598 7003 (32m by 48m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NG37SE
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish KILMUIR

Finds (4)

  • MACE (Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC? to 551 BC?)
  • SHERD (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • TOOL (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (4)

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