Dunadd is an Iron Age and later hillfort near Kilmartin in Argyll and Bute. Originally occupied in the Iron Age, the site later became a seat of the kings of Dál Riata. It is known for its unique stone carvings below the upper enclosure, including a footprint and basin thought to have formed part of Dál Riata's coronation ritual. On the same flat outcrop of rock is an incised boar in Pictish style, and an inscription in the ogham script. The inscription is read as referring to a Finn Manach and is dated to the late 8th century or after.

Dunadd is mentioned twice in early sources. In 683 the Annals of Ulster record: 'The siege of Dún At and the siege of Dún Duirn' without further comment on the outcome or participants. In the same chronicle the entry for 736 states: 'Aengus son of Fergus, king of the Picts, laid waste the territory of Dál Riata and seized Dún At and burned Creic and bound in chains two sons of Selbach, i.e. Donngal and Feradach.'

The site was occupied after 736, at least into the 9th century. It is mentioned twice in later sources, suggesting that it retained some importance. In 1436, it is recorded that 'Alan son of John Riabhach MacLachlan of Dunadd' was made seneschal of the lands of Glassary; the chief place of residence of the MacLachlans of Dunadd lay below the fort. In June 1506, commissioners appointed by James IV, including the earl and bishop of Argyll, met at Dunadd to collect rents and resolve feuds.

Because Dunadd is mentioned in early sources, and is readily identifiable, it has been excavated on several occasions (1904–05, 1929, 1980) and has one of the most important ensembles of finds from any early medieval site in Scotland. Finds range from the 6th to the 8th centuries AD. These include tools, weapons, quernstones, imported pottery and motif-pieces and moulds for the manufacture of fine metalwork (especially jewellery).

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Founded: 8th century AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in United Kingdom

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Michael Reid (3 years ago)
Great place to discover a little-known part of Scotland’s history. Wonderful views.
Thư Trúc Lê Trần (3 years ago)
Interesting place to learn about history and get fit by climbing up and down the hill.
James Burns (3 years ago)
Loved this place - some incredible views and really interesting history. Such an important historic site relating to the Kingdom of Dal Riata.
Neil Bates (3 years ago)
Steep climb so wear decent footware. Great views from the summit. Informative information boards in the car park.
Dawn Gyles (3 years ago)
Still a great place to go in the rain. Careful coming down in the wet. Great of you are a size seven.
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