The Dun Eistein Project

In 1997 David Gilmour, the chairman of CMSNA, was approached by society members seeking information about the Morrison Dun (fort) at the Butt (tip) of Lewis. They inquired about the ruins and the site's history. David communicated with the Chief, who was also interested in the topic, and he, in turn, contacted archaeologists at the University of Glasgow.

While nothing is known about the man who gave his name to the dun, Eystein was a common Nordic name. Located in the townland of Cnoc Aird, Dun Eystein is a natural island stronghold situated at the Ness, or northern extremity, of the island of Lewis. It is separated from the mainland by a precipitous ravine 12 metres deep and wide. At high tide, the sea floods the ravine and isolates Dun Eistein from the mainland. The island is a steep sided plateau with the remnants of buildings and a defensive wall on the landward side.

The Bridge from the mainland to Dun Eistein

The CMSNA subsequently raised US$33,000, and launched an investigation of the site. The first phase (in the year 2000) involved a preliminary survey of the island that focused on the the Dun, the stone wall which originally faced the mainland, and the other stone habitations on the island.

The second phase, in May-June, 2001, consisted of a Geophysical Survey of the Dun. In 2002 a road to the Dun was completed, and a footbridge was constructed to link the Dun to the mainland.

Further info on the project can be found at the following historical external link, which will open in a new window. Please note that the address given for donations in this article is no longer current. A current address is given at the bottom of this page.

Another web site which may be of interest is that of the Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar (Ko-air-le nan Eel-ian She-ar), the Council for the Western Isles. This is the local governing body which oversees the Western Isles, including Lewis. Their web site is at

Dr. Iain Morrison speaking at the Bridge Dedication


Donations/contributions for this ongoing archaeological adventure should be sent to:

The Dun Eistein Project
c/o Treasurer - Clan Morrison Society of North America
Arthur Morrison
220 Orchard Drive
Burbank, CA 91506