Colonsay, Dun Gallain

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Site Type FORT
Canmore ID 37978
Site Number NR39SW 1
NGR NR 3486 9314
Former District ARGYLL AND BUTE
Former County ARGYLL
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Archaeological Notes

NR39SW 1 3486 9314.

(NR 3487 9314) Dun Gallain (NR) (Site of)
OS 6" map (1900)

Dun Ghallain, a promontory fort formed by two lines of defence cutting off approach from the east, and having precipitous drops on the other three sides. The walls, whose plan is not now clear, have been well built of dry-stone masonry incorporating many large stones. Traces of possible huts are visible inside the fort, and great quantities of fallen debris lying all round the hill testify to the former strength of the defences.
S Piggott and C M Piggott 1948

This fort measures internally 30.0m E-W by 25.0m and is generally as described. The inner wall, which encircles the top of the promontory, has outer facing stones visible throughout the whole of its circumference. The entrance is in the NE and the interior is featureless apart from abundance of loose stone; no huts can be distinguished within the fort. The outer wall cuts off approach from both the E, where it is built on top of a natural wall of rock, and the S.
Surveyed at 1:10,000.
Visited by OS (BS) 5 April 1974

This fort occupies a commanding position at the w end of a rocky promontory 1.8km W of Machrins. The summit is
defended by an oval wall, enclosing an area about 30m by 20m with an outer wall on the E and s sides. The main wall is best preserved on the E and S sides, where it is about 3m thick and 0.7m high in five courses; at one point on the NE a stretch of medial face is visible a short distance S of the entrance, which faces NE. Two of the facing-stones of the NW side-wall of the passage appear to be still in position. There is a modern marker cairn (a on RCAHMS plan) on the highest point of the interior.
The outer wall runs along the crest of a rocky ridge on the E side and along the lower flanks of the summit on the SE,
where long stretches of the outer face are visible; its course on the S, however, is largely masked by rubble, and on the W and N the sheer cliffs made any secondary defence unnecessary.
There is a gap in the wall-debris on the NE in line with the entrance through the main wall, but a single large outer facing-stone shows that the outwork continued to the cliff-edge.

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): 90 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): 90-1, no.150 Held at RCAHMS A.1.1.INV/23

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