Skye, Dun Ardtreck

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Alternative Names Ardtreck Point
Canmore ID 11064
Site Number NG33NW 5
NGR NG 3350 3581
Former Region HIGHLAND
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Notes and Activities

Archaeological Notes

NG33NW 5 3350 3581.

(NG 3350 3581) Dun Ardtreck (NR) (Galleried) (NAT)
OS 6" map, (1969)

Dun Ardtreck, a galleried dun or semi-broch, excavated by Mackie in 1964 and 1965 as part of an exercise to establish the development of the broch, the dun's material culture having suggested affinities with the pre-broch forts of Clickhimin (HU44SE 2).
The dun stands on an isolated rocky knoll cut off from the surrounding moorland by a depression of lower marshy ground. The landward side of the knoll is bounded by precipitous rock faces except on the SE where a small cleft has been used for the outer gate-way. An outer wall runs along much of the edge of the knoll on the landward side. It was 6' thick and its inner face stood up to 3 1/2' high although this was completely hidden by later accumulations of rubble and debris. The gateway was 5'wide with parallel sides which bore no signs of door-checks. There is no reason to doubt its contemporaneity with the dun.
The dun itself - D-shaped in plan with the straight side formed by the cliff-edge - occupies the highest point of the sharply sloping rock, so that while the wall near the cliff-edge was reduced to one course of masonry, the outer face on the landward side rose to 8' or more. It was deduced that the wall had reached a height of at least 16'.
It had been built in two stages - a roughly level platform 19' in maximum width retained by a battered outer face of massive boulders was constructed and on this was set the galleried wall. Charcoal from the platform produced a date of 115BC.The wall survived to a maximum height of only 3' and there was no evidence to suggest the former existence of upper mural galleries.
The dun entrance, 3'3" wide,was checked for a door whose iron handle was recovered. The entrance to a crudely built guard cell led off to the right behind the door-checks.
The excavations indicated that the occupation of the dun had been spasmodic, the primary occupation being very short and there were indications that it had ended in violence and destruction. There were very few finds from this period.
A secondary occupation, its beginnings dated from Antonine sherds to about the middle of the 2nd century AD involved minor alterations. The outer court showed signs of sporadic occupation in this period and the foundations of a possible hut were identified, but the main occupation was in the interior of the dun and the many finds were all domestic, including iron tools, bronze ornaments and glass-paste ring-heads as well as Samian sherds and a piece of Roman melon bead.
The pottery included several of the styles which have been suggested for the Hebridean Iron Age and many incised sherds were of Vaul-ware pottery vases.
RCAHMS 1928; E W MacKie 1965; 1967; 1969; Curr Archaeol 1967.

Books and References

Armit, I (1992b) 'The Atlantic Scottish Iron Age: five levels of chronology', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.121
Page(s): 210 illus 3

Armit, I (1996) The archaeology of Skye and the Western Isles, Edinburgh
Page(s): 12, 118, 160 Held at RCAHMS E.2.1.ARM

Armit, I (2003) Towers in the North: the Brochs of Scotland, London
Page(s): 29-30 Held at RCAHMS E.9.1.ARM

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