News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

Celebrating the Archaeology of Dun Deardail


A book focusing on the work of the Dun Deardail Archaeology Project has been Highly Commended as one of the top three archaeology books of 2018.

The commendation came from the biennial British Archaeological Awards, which celebrate and showcase the best in British archaeology and are Britain’s only independent, sector-wide archaeological awards.

The project, funded by Forestry Commission Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Nevis Landscape Partnership, saw the excavation of Dun Deardail, a vitrified hillfort in Glen Nevis that is thought to have been built around 500 BC – only to be burnt down and destroyed around 200 years later.

The fire vitrified the ramparts of the fort, causing the stones to melt together into blocks.

Matt Ritchie, FCS archaeologist, said;

“To have our book -The Archaeology of Dun Deardail - recognised in Britain’s most prestigious Archaeological awards is a great achievement and a welcome accolade for everyone involved in its creation.

“We wanted it to be very collaborative so there are contributions from a range of people – professionals and volunteers - all working together but with each article having its own distinct voice.

“We went for a creative approach so have included myth and legend alongside the science, and used artwork and reconstruction drawings to illustrate people, places and events.”


The stylish front cover is an extract from ‘Dun Deardail’ by archaeologist and landscape artist Andy Heald. The legend of The Sorrow of Derdriu has also been explored in music by Mac-talla Nan Creag (The Echo).

The project was designed in line with Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy, which aims to care for and protect sites whilst delivering archaeology, enhancing understanding, encouraging greater engagement and promoting innovation and skills.