The Iron Age

Iron Age          c 700 BC – 400 AD

In the first millennium BC Celtic peoples began to settle in Scotland from the continent.  They too brought new technology, in the form of iron, which was used for weapons and tools.  Due to the Late Bronze Age climatic deterioration there was now less land suitable for farming, and more competition for territory.   From this period we see the emergence of defensive settlements and structures, like brochs, such as Dun Coille Broch at Struy, duns and hill-forts.

Dun Coille Broch at Struy

Larach Tigh Nam Fionn a hill fort at Knockfin stands on the ridge above the confluence of the Amhuinn Dheabhag and the River Affric, near Tomich.  Human remains were found her in 1870.  A large stone-walled enclosure, with one entrance, is surrounded by an outer wall on the uphill side; a steep slope on the east makes a defensive wall unnecessary on this side.  The interior of the fort would have contained buildings for habitation, of which there is now no trace.  A small excavation in the 19th century found some human remains, but there is no record of what else was found.

Knockfin Hill Fort

Another defensive site in Strathglass is Comar Wood Dun.  Duns are related to brochs but the walls do not have internal chambers.  Comar Wood Dun has a marvellous defensive position, on a terrace of a hillside above Cannich, overlooking a wide stretch of the strath.

Radio-carbon dates form charcoal at the dun show that it was occupied in the first millennium BC, and reoccupied with some alterations some centuries later.

It consists of a circular building with very thick but low (up to 1.6 metres) walls, so strictly speaking it is a defended roundhouse. It is surrounded by an outer enclosure wall.

See our Fieldwork Report on this site for more detailed information.

Comar Wood Dun at time of excavation