This year we’re delighted to announce that we’ll be piecing together even more chronicles (click here for even more amazing stories) from the Castle as our contribution to Visit Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 – which asks community groups, museums, heritage sites and visitor attractions throughout Scotland, to share their stories to help uncover

“What gives us our unique sense of place and belonging.”

So to begin, our very first story takes us as far back in time as evidence so far allows – which will venture to uncover the earliest possible tales surrounding the very first known communities who would’ve lived on and around Castle Hill…


CHAPTER 1: TALES OF OUR FIRST KNOWN INHABITANTS

So to begin, our very first story takes us as far back in time as evidence so far allows – which will venture to uncover the earliest possible tales surrounding the very first known communities who would’ve lived on and around Castle Hill.  The plot of this story is both fluid and solid, since it is an unfolding chain of events, dependent on how much of the past has so far been uncovered from beneath the layers of time… CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL BLOG

In line with this month’s theme for Scotland’s Year of Stories, we’re taking a peek into the first signs of life on the hill. Education Officer Blythe speaks on the archaeological evidence which points to life on the hill as far back as 3,500 years ago!
Back in January of 2021 we were lucky enough to host an online talk by Dr Kenny Brophy of the University of Glasgow Archaeology Department. Kenny’s fascinating talk centred around the pre-history of Ayrshire, and sticking with our Year of Stories theme for this month, we’re making Kenny’s full talk available to the public!

CHAPTER 2: THE IRON AGE HILLFORT

From early prehistory into the later medieval period, Dundonald’s naturally defensible hilltop site brings us a prime example of continued settlement and fortification. Our story now continues to the Iron Age and references the second period of known human settlement uncovered from the archaeological studies which took place here in the 1980s and 90s… CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL BLOG

In Chapter 2 of Dundonald Castle’s story, we are looking at the Iron Age Hillfort which once occupied the summit of Castle Hill. Tour Guide Dave talks to us about one of the largest items in our collection – the recreated Celtic shield.
This is available to see on display in our Museum
This video outlines life in Bronze and Iron Age Dundonald – featuring our Education Officer, Blythe, and our Archaeology Officer Lauren.

CHAPTER 3: VIKINGS, KINGDOMS AND FIRE

Chapter 3 of the Chronicles of Castle Hill takes us into the Early Historic Period at Dundonald – which appears to have continued to be a defensible hill fort – as referenced by the period of known human settlement  c600AD – 1000AD uncovered from the archaeological studies which took place here in the 1980s and 90s.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL BLOG

We are now moving on through time to Part 3 of the Chronicles of Castle Hill! This time we will be exploring stories from the time between c 600 AD and 1000 AD – which has been described as probably one of the most violent periods in the history of Scotland!

This was a time when Dundonald came under the realm of the Kingdom of Strathclyde which was one of the early medieval kingdoms of the Britons, or the Brythonic-speaking part of southern Scotland – also known as Ystrad Clut or Alt Cluth – a Brythonic name for Dumbarton Rock, where the chief fortress of the kingdom once stood. Today Education Officer Blythe is exploring The Ulfberhth sword – which was one of the weapons which came from the latter part of this period.