Dun Troddan

Boundary Marker(s) (19th Century), Broch (iron Age)

Site Name Dun Troddan

Classification Boundary Marker(s) (19th Century), Broch (iron Age)

Alternative Name(s) Glenelg

Canmore ID 11797

Site Number NG81NW 6

NGR NG 83400 17244

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Glenelg (skye And Lochalsh)
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Skye And Lochalsh
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Treasured Places - HLF funded (10 August 2007)

Dun Troddan is one of the best-preserved examples of an Iron Age broch in Scotland, consisting of a round tower with dry-stone walls, parts of which survive to over 7m in height. In 1920, excavations revealed a hearth in the centre and places where timber posts once stood, supporting upper levels. Another well-preserved broch, Dun Telve, is situated only 500m away, but it is unknown if they were occupied at the same time.

Information from RCAHMS (SC) 10 August 2007

Ritchie, A and Ritchie, G 1998

An image of this site has been nominated as one of Scotland's favourite archive images. For more information about the project visit http://www.treasuredplaces.org.uk

Recording Your Heritage Online

Glen Beag. Nowhere is the prehistoric architecture of the West Highlands best preserved than at Corrary, in the rare setting of a secluded and fertile glen.

The Glenelg Brochs are a pair of fortified homesteads built by Iron Age farmers sometime between the 4th century BC and end of the 1st century AD; excavated in 1914 and 1922. Dun Telve is unrivalled on the Scottish Mainland for the degree to which it survives - a section of walling still rises to some 10 m beneath its canopy of oak and sycamores.

Dun Troddan was badly plundered in 1722, when 'some Goth purloined from the top seven feet and a half' during the construction of Bernera Barracks, but a section of its walling still rises to over 7 m, and it is possible to ascend nine stairs to a passage in the mural cavity.

Intact, these drystone brochs would have borne a curious resemblance to great industrial cooling towers. Ruinous, they reveal in cross-section their ingenious double-skinned construction. Rising in thin courses from a solid base some 15 ft thick, the inner wall (with long voids to lessen its load) is clearly vertical, while the outer wall tapers, with bridging slabs tying the two together. A guard's cell opens off the entrance passage, where door-checks and draw-bar holes are still evident. The brochs had central stone hearths and were probably roofed with timber and thatch, incorporating smoke holes. It is now believed that their mural galleries, linked by staircases, were probably used mostly for storage, with principal living accommodation provided in thatched wooden shelters built on several levels against the inner wallface.

[For centuries, the Glenelg brochs have been the subject of intense interest from antiquarians and travel writers, whose various interpretations of their origins include Pictish towers and Danish forts. In folklore, the brochs were the homes of Fingalian giants.]

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2007. Published by the Rutland Press http://www.rias.org.uk

Archaeology Notes

83400 17244.

(NG 83381723) Dun (NR) (In Ruins Supposed Pictish Tower)

OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1902)

Dun Troddan. A Broch excavated up to 1920 by Curle for the Office of Works. Three superimiposed hearths indicated separate occupation periods. The finds (in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland [NMAS] {PSAS 1923}) were few; 7 stone whorls, 2 schist discs, a vitrified bead etc. but no pottery. The lowest hearth (of oblong form) and the vitrified bead compared with material from a 2nd c. RB context at Traprain Law.

A O Curle 1921; A Young 1964; R W Feachem 1963; PSAS 1963.

As described and planned by Curle. Under guardianship.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (R L) 4 October 1966.

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