MHG6488 - Dun Cruinn


No summary available.

Type and Period (3)

  • FORT (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2400 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • DUN (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • LYNCHET (Undated)

Protected Status

Full Description

Dun Cruinn (NR)
OS 6"map, (1968)

A fort occupies the summit of Dun Cruinn; it is an irregular oval on plan, measuring 300' NW-SE by 80'. It has been defended by a stone wall, now almost obliterated, built on the edge of the steep natural scarp, except round the SE, which is defended by perpendicular cliffs up to 20' high. A rampart of earth, 25' broad in places, 3' - 5' high internally and 5' - 13' high externally, is built all along the foot of the natural slope on the E flank and SE end, at distances from the crest of the hill varying from 35' - 80'. Between its S end and the crest of a steep natural slope on the W, a gap of 27' is the only distinguishable approach to the fort, and 130' NE of here, abutting on the inside of the rampart, is a semi-circular area c. 36' in diameter bounded by a smaller rampart.
The S end of the summit is occupied by an oval building which may be a small dun (R W Feachem 1963) measuring 50' N-S by 40' E-W, surrounded by a grass-grown stone wall, of indefinite width and 6' ih height in places. It has been entered from the E and divided in two by a low cross wall; it has a defensive rampart to the SW. On its E wall there is a hut circle 12' in diameter. The remaining part of the summit towards the N has been cut across its length by a shallow ditch 12' broad with the excavated earth forming a low rampart 7' broad along its S side, thus making two enclosures. In the NW corner of the W subdivision is a hut circle 10' in diameter, and in line with it to the E are traces of two others. The best preserved circle lies near the centre of the E side, and two are faintly seen near the N end; on the W are two impinging circles, each 9' in diameter, near the centre of the wall. Another is traceable to the S. There are indications of hut circles near the centre of the N enclosure, and seven others can be traced on the inside of the crest; their diameters range from 9' - 15'. The entrance pathway to this enclosure seems to pass between a well-defined hut circle in its SE angle and the end of the dividing ditch.
RCAHMS 1928; R W Feachem 1963.

A fort with outworks overlaid by a dun, on Dun Cruinn, a rocky hill. The S half of the fort is virtually destroyed but a scarp outside the S arc of the dun, noted as a defensive rampart by the RCAHMS, probably represents the course of the wall. The rubble core of the wall with one or two widely spaced outer facing stones is visible around most of the N half, indicating a wall thickness of at least 3.0m.
The rampart and ditch crossing the fort appear to be a tumbled stone wall spread to 3.5m with a slight depression, possibly a silted quarry ditch, on its N side. Its date and function are uncertain but it seems to have been built to form, together with the better preserved N half of the fort wall, an enclosure, possibly contemporary with the dun. The wall running S from this wall towards the dun is very ruinous and its purpose is uncertain. There are traces within the fort of all the small enclosures planned by the RCAHMS, but they are so ill-defined that
their plan, date and purpose canno be determined without excavation. None, however, appear to be hut circles.
The outer rampart increases in width from c. 6.0m in the N to c. 9.0m at the entrance in the S,and has been constructed with the spoil from an internal quarry ditch varying from c. 4.0m in width in the N to c. 9.0m in the S. The ditch has been partly filled with tumble and soil slip and is blocked at one point by the footings of a late rectangular house. Between this ditch and the main fort wall are the remnants of the outer face of another wall indicated by a curving line of boulders, which appears to have been destroyed in the S by a ditch.
There may have been a way leading from the SE obliquely up the E side of the hill, but the main approach has been up a terrace below the cliff in the SW. Along the SW edge of this terrace is a discontinuous line of boulders which are probably the remains of the outer face of a wall protecting the approach.
The dun is turf-covered and survives to a maximum height of 1.5m. Several outer facing stones are visible intermittently around the N half and exposed in the hollowed interior in the N and W is part of the inner face giving a probable wall thickness of 4.5m in the W, increasing to 5.2m in the N. No facing stones are evident in the mutilated S arc, but the course of the wall can be seen, showing that the dun was circular, not oval, and about 20.0m in diameter overall. The internal features planned by the RCAHMS appear to be due to robbing combined with the spread of debris and are not structures. A lowering of the wall in the E may indicate the position of the entrance.
Outside the fort in the E are some cultivation terraces which may be contemporary with a depopulated village which occupies the area to the W, S, and E of the fort.
Visited by OS (A A) 12 October 1971.

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

A penannular brooch said to have been found at Dun Cruin, Skerinish, Skye, is listed in the the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Catalogue under Acc. No. Z 16032. It was found with a whetstone and piece of glass. <2>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred NG 4108 5185 (100m by 100m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG45SW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish SNIZORT

Finds (2)

  • PENANNULAR BROOCH (Early Medieval - 561 AD? to 1057 AD?)
  • WHETSTONE (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (3)

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