Metal detectorists Andrejs Grisulis, 35 and Matthew Madden, 55 had previously pled guilty to heritage offences at Dunoon Sheriff Court.
The pair were given a Community Payback Order requiring them to carry out 80 hours unpaid work and supervision for six months. A requirement of their sentence was that they do not enter any site owned and managed by Historic Environment Scotland for a period of two years.
The court also granted the prosecutors motion for the forfeiture of the metal detector.
The court heard that on 8 June 2020 the pair were seen by witnesses to be using a metal detector and digging at the protected site of Dunadd Fort in Argyll.
Dunadd Fort is one of the most important early medieval power centres in Scotland and was the royal centre and capital of the early Scottish kingdom of Dál Riata. It has been subject to legal protection for 90 years.
Following a complaint and a subsequent investigation by Historic Environment Scotland, 28 holes were found at the site and police recovered an extremely fragile and vulnerable iron hammerhead
Speaking following the sentencing, Anne Marie Hicks, Assistant Procurator Fiscal for North Strathclyde, said:
“Dunadd Fort is of great significance to our Scottish heritage and the local community. It is a nationally important scheduled monument subject to legal protection.
“It is vitally important that there are laws in place to protect such important sites and as with this case where there is sufficient evidence of a crime and if it is appropriate and in the public interest to do so, we will prosecute.”