32205: An Dunan, TRAIGH NAN SRUBAN


STRUCTURE (Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age – 1000 BC to 401 BC)
SITE (Undated)
Bronze Age/ Early Iron Age ritual structure


NB 04538 34599

Full description:

NB03SW 20 044 345

NB 044 345 Situated on eroding saltings at the N of the Traigh nan Sruban, near Crowlista, is a small utilised natural island known locally as An Dunan. Situated on top of this bedrock outcrop is an oval orthostatic structure. The island is linked to the old shoreline by a stone causeway partially buried in the peat. Test excavations on this site were carried out during June and July to establish the nature and date of the feature.
Two trenches were opened, one on the structure itself, and one down the side of the island into the saltings. Excavations within the structure revealed a series of modifications to the visible outline and a much larger underlying structure with a clay floor and circular clay hearth. The latter produced evidence of intense burning and possible cremations. Within the upper multi-phase structure was a series of peat ash dumps and hearths overlying the earlier clay floor. The long trench running from the island?s summit revealed that the island consisted of a bedrock ridge which outcropped on the S and W sides and included terraced stone revetments along its N and E sides, forming an entrance route from the causeway.
Small finds recovered seem to indicate that this site is Bronze Age, and include fragments of beaker pottery, possible bronze slag, and a complete penannular shale bracelet found against the W wall of the primary structure but possibly associated with the later modifications. Radiocarbon dating of the numerous carbon samples retrieved is forthcoming.
Sponsors: Historic Scotland, Edinburgh University Archaeology Department, Russell Trust.
C Burgess, J Dempsey and S Gilmour 1996

NB 044 345 The 1997 season of excavation on this tidal islet revealed a more coherent picture of the underlying structure associated with a major central hearth (Burgess, Dempsey and Gilmour 1996). The hearth proved to be the focal point of the site incorporating many episodes of use. It was founded on a clay base, the four corners being marked by large orthostats, the two northern of which flanked a possible clay or compacted ash feature accessing the hearth. The southern orthostats flanked entry to a multi-phase area of ‘niches’ which may have originally held many of the artefacts deposited in the building. These include a range of quartzite pebbles, some struck quartzite artefacts and a mixed assemblage of plain and decorated pottery. The building itself consisted of a mix of large orthostats and rough coursing around the W side and a much poorer construction of smaller stonework to the E. A small trench across the visible causeway to the site revealed a single period construction, possibly late in the site sequence due to its location cut into the peat. Current preliminary interpretations of this site place it within the mid- to Late Bronze Age and focus on its possible ritual aspects as a suspected mortuary building. The penannular shale bracelet recovered last year originated from the building.
Sponsors: Historic Scotland, Edinburgh University Archaeology Department, Abercromby Trust Fund, Carnegie Trust, Small Project Grant – Edinburgh University.
C Burgess, M Church, C Flitcroft and S Gilmour 1997


1996. ‘An Dunan (Uig parish), utilised natural island’, Publisher: Council for Scottish Archaeology, Pubished: 1997 Discovery and Excavation, Scotland. 110
1997. ‘An Dunan (Uig parish), utilised natural island’, Publisher: Council for Scottish Archaeology, Pubished: 1998 Discovery and Excavation, Scotland. 85


Information provided by Western Isles Council Sites & Monuments Record, January 2006.

Record Location

Record Type:
Historical or Archaeological Site
Type Of Site:
Structure; Site
Iron Age (pre-Roman) (800-0 BC); Bronze Age (2350-700 BC)
SMRRecord ID:
Record Maintained by: