MHG8706 - Round House - Dun Morangie, Tarlogie


The site of ruined Iron Age Dun at Tarlogie, Morangie, Tain.

Type and Period (2)

  • (Former Type) DUN (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • ATLANTIC ROUNDHOUSE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NH78SE 13 7616 8389.

NH 761 839. Dun, Morangie: The wasted remains of this dun measure about 13m in diameter within a wall spread to between 4.5m and 7m in thickness and 1.2m in height.
RCAHMS 1979, visited 1977.

The dun at NH 7616 8389 is situated on a small natural hillock in a now-arable field; internally, it measures approximately 15m NW-SE by 13.5m. It has been almost totally destroyed in the E and NW. The wall is best preserved in the N where it is spread to 5m and is 1.2m high. No entrance is discernible in the remains.
Surveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (J B) 23 February 1981.

The site was photographed by the Highland Council on an unknown date. <1>

As part of the Northern Picts Project surveys and excavations have been undertaken from 2012 to 2014 on six Atlantic roundhouses on the Tarbat Peninsula to track the nature of settlement in this landscape in the first millennium BC to AD. The investigation of the thick-walled dry stone roundhouse at Tarlogie Farm Dun (also known as Morangie Dun) was undertaken over two field seasons in April and July 2014.
The roundhouse is located on a small knoll overlooking the S shore of the Dornoch Firth. Prior to excavation the upstanding remains of a large dry stone walled roundhouse could be clearly identified. The roundhouse measured c15m in internal diameter, best preserved along the N where the outer wall survived to c1.2m high and at least 5m wide. Excavation of a 16 x 12m trench across the E half of the house identified a complex and multi-phased thick-walled dry stone roundhouse with an elaborate splayed E-facing entranceway. The investigation was designed to strip, map and record the final phase of the roundhouse walls and restricted to excavating a limited number of internal deposits.
Although extensively robbed, it was clear that the roundhouse walls had undergone substantial remodelling and widening. In their final form the walls were of composite construction, with an inner and outer wall face enclosing a core of rubble and earth, c5.6m wide. Earlier wall lines within this rubble core indicating that they had been widened and had at one point been narrower, c3m in width. The E-facing splayed entranceway had also undergone substantial remodelling. In its final phase, it was partially flagged and widened out from 1.8m at the interior to 3.6m at the limit of excavation. Compacted layers of uneven cobbling suggest that the entrance may have had areas of timber flooring (very similar to the uneven boulder and cobbling within Dun Vulan which was interpreted as the base for a wooden floor).
Internally, a bay had been inserted into the N wall, creating a room with a compacted earthen floor running westward around the length of the wall from the entranceway. Multiple restructurings of the house were evident from cleaning the interior with the exposed area a complex palimpsest of intercutting hearths, postholes and a possible furnace base of stone slabs encrusted with slag. A single rectangular stone-slab hearth and posthole were excavated to sample the structural features of the house. Possible smelting and smithing slag and a fragment of furnace lining along with a number of broken quern fragments and a pivot stone were recovered from the interior cleaning.
A test pit located against the internal face of the N wall identified a sequence of floors overlying a raft of levelling rubble, presumed associated with the primary construction of the house. An occupation layer overlying this rubble was dated to 370–160 BC suggesting the house was constructed and in use in the 4th to 2nd century BC. Overlying this was a possible floor layer dated to AD 25–130. The uppermost floor layer contained an early type of zoomorphic penannular brooch and was dated to AD 235–385. This sequence indicates that the house was occupied on-and-off for almost 800 years. The presence of slag and furnace lining within a final occupation layer containing significant charcoal and burnt daub deposits suggests that the final phase of the house may have beenassociated with metal-working.
Approximately 20m to the E of the house a series of test pits and a single 17m long trench identified a thick organic deposit (up to 1m in depth in places) comprising multiple thin lenses containing shells, animal bones and slag. This probable midden heap appeared to be built up against the E side of the house, close to the entrance and the approach to the site.
The handle of a soap-stone bowl or cup and broken quern fragments were recovered from the midden. <2> <3>

The site was visited and photographed during active excavation on the 15th of April 2014 by members of the Highland Council Historic Environment Record Team. <4>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NH 7617 8389 (80m by 80m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH78SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish TAIN

Finds (8)

  • CUP (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • QUERN (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SHERD (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • DAUB (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • PENANNULAR BROOCH (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SLAG (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (2)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.