The excavations were carried out as part of the National Trust for Scotland’s Trailblazer residential working holidays, which offer the opportunity for young people aged 16 to 17 to experience archaeological excavations and conservation work.
The barony of Dun was purchased by Sir Robert Erskine of Erskine in Renfrewshire in the 14th century.
The castle was built along with a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Recent repair work to the Erskine Family Mausoleum on the estate revealed the foundations of the chapel and now an excavation led by National Trust for Scotland archaeologist Dr Daniel Rhodes has pinpointed the location of the castle.
The castle was likely to be in the form of a Tower House surrounded by a curtain wall and ancillary buildings, and the site has been noted on maps of the area since 1865 but it wasn’t until conservation work on the nearby Erskine Family Mausoleum and an archaeological investigation began in 2013 that the extent of the remains were really known.
Detailed analyses of the Mausoleum showed that the building originally formed part of a chapel from the late 1300s and that the chapel was believed to stand to the west of the original Dun Castle.
Following a geophysical survey of the site the excavation has established the location of this lost medieval castle and it’s hoped that further work will help to reveal more of this important site.