Colonsay, Dun Tealtaig

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Site Type FORT
Canmore ID 37835
Site Number NR39NE 2
NGR NR 3890 9839
Former District ARGYLL AND BUTE
Former County ARGYLL
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Notes and Activities

Archaeological Notes

NR39NE 2 3890 9839.

(NR 3872 9843) Dun Tealtaig (NR) (Site of)
OS 6" map (1900)

A strong promontory site with only natural defences and a few circular huts, with a narrow causeway to the mainland on the east. "Tealtaig" contains a Norse element meaning "hut" (information from Prof Watson).
S Piggott and C M Piggott 1948

NR 3890 9840: This promontory fort measures internally 46.0m NE-SW by 48.0m within a stone wall up to 1.0m high. The wall is best preserved in the S and SE where an outer face survives. Elsewhere steep cliffs provide adequate defence. The entrance is not apparant but could only have been on the S.
Within the interior on the N are four hut circles, levelled into the hillside and measuring from 4.3m to 8.5m in diameter.
Surveyed at 1:2500.
Visited by OS (DWR) 16 April 1974

This fort is situated 130m NE of Duntealtaig Cottage on a rocky promontory overlooking the W extremity of Kiloran
Bay. The site is protected by sheer cliffs or steep rocky slopes on all sides except the SW, where access is easy.
The fort was defended by a single wall, which may originally have enclosed the whole of the promontory but which now survives only on the E and S, appearing as a low bank of rubble core material containing an unusually high
proportion of earth, which was evidently an original element of its structure. A quarry has destroyed a section of the wall on the S. The position of the entrance is not clear, but it probably lay on the SW.
The interior falls steeply from a gently sloping terrace on the N and W, which provides the only reasonably level
ground; and this area is now occupied by a number of small enclosures. Two of these (A and B on the RCAHMS plan) are U-shaped, share a common side and are formed by a low earth-and-stone bank; C is an oval scoop levelled into the terrace; and D is a rectangular area similarly levelled into the terrace and surrounded on the N, E and S by a low stony bank. Between B and C there is a level platform. The date and function of these enclosures are unknown, but A may be the foundations of a rectangular house, and B, C and D garden plots. Below the enclosures, and just behind the quarry, three shallow terraces may also have been cultivated.

Books and References

Piggott and Piggott, S and C M (1948) 'Field work on Colonsay and Islay, 1944-45', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.80
Page(s): 87 pl.5 (2) Held at RCAHMS E.7.1.PIG.P

RCAHMS (1984a) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the monuments volume 5: Islay, Jura, Colonsay and Oronsay, Edinburgh
Page(s): 95, 97, no. 158 Held at RCAHMS A.1.1.INV/23

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