A Second Season of Excavations at Dun Deardail

Working shot

Dun Deardail occupies a spectacular position overlooking Glen Nevis in the Highlands, its dramatic location made all the more special by Ben Nevis looming opposite. The hillfort has been the archaeological focus of the five-year HLF-funded Nevis Landscape Partnership.

This summer, AOC Archaeology Group has been working with Forestry Commission Scotland and the Nevis Landscape Partnership to deliver the second year of the excavation. The project aims to better understand the process of the vitrification of the ramparts, explore the interior (and any occupation layers) and enable conservation management (the hillfort is set on the popular West Highland Way).   

Areas chosen for investigation were part of the upper terraced area of the hillfort (including the inner rampant face), a further plateau of occupational and structural activity and a potential entrance to the fort. This was to build further on the evidence from the previous season, which produced a series of radiocarbon dates ranging from the sixth to first centuries BC.

Volunteers from the local community and beyond were trained in archaeological techniques and methods and helped to uncover and record a number of features, including a possible composite hearth, the identification of a rampart wall core amongst the rubble and some amazing stratigraphic sequences of occupational layers.

The excavation and open day were filmed by celebrated mountaineer and film maker Dave MacLeod and is set to feature in a short film for the Nevis Landscape Partnership – and the site was visited by local school children experiencing archaeology in action.

Nevis Landscape Partnership is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.