Scheduled Monument

Dunadd,fort,boar carving,ogam inscription and cupmarkingsSM90108

Status: Designated


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Date Added
Last Date Amended
Supplementary Information Updated
Crosses and carved stones: sculptured stone (not ascribed to a more specific type), Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill fort and promontory fort), Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cupmarks or cup-and-ring marks and similar rock art
Local Authority
Argyll And Bute
NR 83685 93560
183685, 693560


The monument comprises a high-status Early Historic fort and associated carvings, situated on an isolated rocky massif above the boggy flats of Moine Mhor, adjacent to the River Add.

The natural stepped topography of the massif has been utilised to create a number of terraced enclosures. Approached from a monumental rock cleft in the the SE, the lower terraces are the largest; there is a well at their N end, several rectangular foundations and a small cell in the W angle of the wall. To the E, beyond this main stone wall, is a line of boulders filling gaps between the rocky ridges.

To the E of the summit is an enclosure (22m by 11m) which includes within it a rock-cut basin, an ogam inscription, a boar carving and a sunken footprint (likely to be associated with inauguration rites). The enclosure on the summit, which in its latest phase is pear-shaped (30m by 13m), is pre-dated by what may be the earliest phase of construction of the fort.

There is no evidence for fort activity pre-dating the first millennium AD. Finds from the site are numerous, particularly the evidence for fine metalworking: there are also suggestions that some of the inhabitants were literate and/or Christian. Imported pottery from Gaul and Germanic glass vessels have also been identified. Probable cupmarkings of prehistoric date have been recognised at various points outside the fort on the S and E; there is also a ruinous building of more recent date on level ground 20m to the S of the fort.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan and measures up to 280m from WSW to ENE by up to 210m, to include the fort, carvings and an area around in which associated remains may survive, as marked in red on the attached map extract.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it represents the well-preserved remains of what was probably the capital of the early Scottish kingdom of Dalriada, and was certainly a major political stronghold. Limited small-scale excavation has already demonstrated the archaeological richness of this site and its potential to provide information about the nature and organisation of Early Historic society, including the relationship between the Scots and their neighbours, particularly the Picts.



RCAHMS records the monument as NR 89 SW 1.

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Dunadd Hill Fort

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About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 26/05/2019 18:06