Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC2731: Skye, Dun Cruinn  

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HER:  Highland HER MHG6488

NMR:  NG 45 SW 3 (11332)

SM:  910

NGR:  NG 4108 5185

X:  141080  Y:  851850  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

This fort is situated on an elongated hillock at the NNW end of the Skerinish peninsula. The ground falls away steeply all along the WSW flank, ultimately down to the loch shore, while on the ENE the hillock is separated from the rising ground to the E by a deep natural hollow. The visible remains comprise two principal elements: what is probably a heavily-robbed broch; and an earlier fort. The broch occupies the southern end of the interior of the fort, which measures about 95m from NNW to SSE by a maximum of 25m transversely (0.19ha), and is divided in half by a later transverse wall roughly midway along its length. The innermost defences of the fort comprise an inner wall, now reduced to little more than a band of rubble with occasional outer facing-stones, which can be traced along the margins of the summit and measures about 3m in thickness; this is best preserved around the NNW half, but it probably extended around the edge of the precipitous SSE end, where it is overlain by the ruins of the broch. On the ENE flank below the inner wall there are possible traces of an outer wall, but at its S end this seems to have been cut out by the internal ditch of a major outer defence set at the foot of the slope to encompass the whole of the E half of the circuit. The ditch increases in breadth southwards from 4m to a maximum of 9m where it terminates adjacent to an entrance on the lip of the slope dropping away to the W; it is accompanied by an upcast rampart on its counterscarp. The route from this entrance to the summit probably followed a terrace at the foot of the cliffs on the SW; access to this terrace, however, is partly blocked by a line of boulders opposite the terminal of the ditch. In 1921 RCAHMS investigators depicted eight structures within the interior, but the OS felt unable to identify any of them as the remains of a hut-circle. The defences evidently represent several phases of construction, the latest element probably being the transverse wall across the interior, though whether this was contemporary with the occupation of the broch, as suggested by the OS, or is part of the later pattern of field-banks in the vicinity, is unknown.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed

Location

X:  -703718  Y:  7859442  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -6.321602  Latitude:  57.48278  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Highland

Historic County:   Inverness-shire

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Snizort

Condition

Extant:  
Cropmark:  
Likely Destroyed:  

Land Use

Woodland:  
Commercial Forestry Plantation:  
Parkland:  
Pasture (Grazing):  
Arable:  
Scrub/Bracken:  
Bare Outcrop:  
Heather/Moorland:  
Heath:  
Built-up:  
Coastal Grassland:  
Other:  

Landscape

Hillfort Type

Contour Fort:  
Partial Contour Fort:  
Promontory Fort:  
Hillslope Fort:  
Level Terrain Fort:  
Marsh Fort:  
Multiple Enclosure Fort:  

Topographic Position

Hilltop:  
Coastal Promontory:  
Inland Promontory:  
Valley Bottom:  
Knoll/Hillock/Outcrop:  
Ridge:  
Cliff/Plateau-edge/Scarp:  
Hillslope:  
Lowland:  
Spur:  

Dominant Topographic Feature:  

Aspect

North:  
Northeast:  
East:  
Southeast:  
South:  
Southwest:  
West:  
Northwest:  
Level:  

Elevation

Altitude:  60.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

In the absence of modern excavation, there are neither stratified artefacts nor radiocarbon dates to provide a chronology for the defences.

Reliability:  D - None

Pre 1200BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
400BC - AD50:  
AD50 - AD400:  
AD400 - AD 800:  
Post AD800:  
Unknown:  

Pre Hillfort Activity:  ✗  

Post Hillfort Activity:  ✓  Overlain by broch

None:  No details.

Investigations

Earthwork Survey (1921):  Plan and description (RCAHMS 1928, 197-8, no.621, fig 283; RCAHMS IND 29/1-2)
Excavation (1922):  No published report (RCAHMS MS453/38)
Other (1936):  Scheduled
1st Identified Map Depiction (1968):  OS 1:10,560
Other (1971):  Description; visited by the OS
Other (1984):  Description and sketch-plan (MacSween 1984, 49, fig 51)

Interior Features

Eight structures depicted as hut-circles by RCAHMS, but though traces are visible the OS could not confirm that they were the remains of hut-circles. Otherwise overlain by the broch

Water Source

None:  
Spring:  
Stream:  
Pool:  
Flush:  
Well:  
Other:  

Surface

Overlain by broch

No Known Features:  
Round Stone Structures:  
Rectangular Stone Structures:  
Curvilinear Platforms:  
Other Roundhouse Evidence:  
Pits:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  

Excavation

No Known Excavation:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Geophysics

No Known Geophysics:  
Pits:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Finds

No Known Finds:  
Pottery:  
Metal:  
Metalworking:  
Human Bones:  
Animal Bones:  
Lithics:  
Environmental:  
Other:  

Aerial

Traces of some of the features depicted by RCAHMS

APs Not Checked:  
None:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Other:  

Entrances

See main summary

Total Number of Breaks Through Ramparts:  1:  heavily robbed inner circuit

Number of Possible Original Entrances:   

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Entrance 1 (South):  Simple Gap:  in outermost rampart to approach inner entrance on the western flank

Enclosing Works

at least one wall, but with an outer ditch and bank

Enclosed Area 1:  0.19ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.2ha.

Total Footprint Area:  0.77ha.

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✓  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✓  

Number of Ramparts:  3

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  2
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  3
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts NW Quadrant:  1

Current Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  
Unknown:  

Multi-period Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:  
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  

Surface Evidence

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Rubble:  
Wall-walk:  
Evidence of Timber:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
Other:  

Excavated Evidence

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Murus Duplex:  
Timber-framed:  
Timber-laced:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
No Known Excavation:  
Other:  

Gang Working

Gang Working:  ✗ 

Ditches

Ditches:  

Number of Ditches:  1

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Feachem, R (1963) A guide to prehistoric Scotland. Batsford: London (p 156)

MacSween, A (1985) The Broch, Duns and Enclosures of Skye. Northern Archaeology 5-6 (1984-85), 1-57

RCAHMS (1928) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Ninth report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the Outer Hebrides, Skye and the Small Isles. HMSO: Edinburgh

Terms of Use

The online version of the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland should be cited as:

Lock, G. and Ralston, I. 2017.  Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland. [ONLINE] Available at: https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk.

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