Scotlands History


Dunadd, in Argyll, is a massive rocky hill which was an important Dál Riatan settlement. This dramatic site lies near Kilmartin Glen and archaeological finds show Dunadd was occupied during the early centuries BC.

On the summit of the hill is a footprint carved in the rock and a carving of a boar. These are thought to have been used during the inauguration of kings.

Numerous artefacts have been discovered at Dunadd. A piece of yellow pigment called orpiment used in the illumination of manuscripts like the Book of Kells may have been destined for the scribes of Iona. Brooch moulds and crucibles show that in the 7th century Dunadd was a centre of fine metalworking. Skilled craftsmen created intricate pieces of jewellery like the Hunterston Brooch.

Potsherds and other finds show that Dunadd was an important trading centre where ships arrived from the continent bringing goods like wine, dyes, salt and exotic spices to the Gaels of Dál Riata.

  • A photograph of a carved footprint at Dunadd Hillfort

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