Colonsay, Dun Cholla

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Site Type FORT
Canmore ID 37885
Site Number NR39SE 12
NGR NR 3777 9152
Former District ARGYLL AND BUTE
Former County ARGYLL
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Archaeological Notes

NR39SE 12 3777 9152.

(NR 3775 9150) Dun Cholla (NR) (Site of)
OS 6" map (1900)

A fort measuring 200' NE-SW by 80' within a wall over 10' thick. The entrance 5' wide, is in the east, the only accessible side, the others being preciptous cliff. There are traces of outworks on the NE and much debris lies about the slopes.
At the NW end of the interior is a stone-walled hut foundation 25' across with a concentric ring of internal post holes as well as a central post hole. On the mainland such a structure would be dated to the first few centuries AD. The whole interior is uneven with outcropping rock but there are traces of a wall forming a small enclosure in the SE corner.
S Piggott and C M Piggott 1948; R W Feachem 1963

NR 3775 9152 The fort is generally as described and measures 60.0m EW by 24.0m. The wall on the E is 4.0m thick and three courses high. The outer face is still visible on the N and NW while on the S and SW only a line of rubble remains. Within the fort are the foundations of two circular huts one measuring 7.5m in diameter whilst the other is incomplete but probably measured about 8.0m in diameter. There are no traces of outworks to the NE.
Surveyed at 1/2500.
Visited by OS (BS) 11 April 1974

This fort occupies the s end of a rocky promontory about 800m WNW of Balerominmore farmhouse. The S and W sides
are protected by sheer cliffs, but from the NE the approach is up a gentle grass-covered slope.
The fort is defended by a single wall which encloses an area measuring 54m by a maximum of 25m. On the NE, where
there is least natural protection, the wall is up to 6m thick, and the outer facing-stones, which are unusually large and
well coursed, stand to a height of 1.25m in four courses; elsewhere the wall is about 2.5m thick. Immediately SE of the
entrance there is a short stretch of medial walling, probably designed to reinforce the greater wall-thickness in this sector, and on the NW the lowest course of the outer face is founded on a revetted platform in order to give it greator stability. The entrance, which lies on the NE, was modified in antiquity.
Originally it measured 1.8m in width at its outer end and was checked on the s at a point 1.8m from the outside. Later the passage was reduced to a width of 1.4m by adding an extra skin of stone to the S side, and a new check was built 2.9m from the outer end; at the same time the lowest course of the outer face was continued across the entrance, partially blocking the passage. In the interior there are the footings of two enclosures and a stretch of ruined wall, all of which are of comparatively recent date.

Books and References

Feachem, R (1963b) A guide to prehistoric Scotland, London
Page(s): 115 Held at RCAHMS E.2.FEA

Piggott and Piggott, S and C M (1948) 'Field work on Colonsay and Islay, 1944-45', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.80
Page(s): 90-2 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): 89, no.147 Held at RCAHMS A.1.1.INV/23

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