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Publication Account

Date 1985

Event ID 1018853

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


This well-preserved broch, situated on a rocky knoll close to the shore, was excavated between 1962 and 1964, and we thus have detailed information about the sequence of construction and the objects discovered in the various levels. Set within an irregular but stoutly made outwork, it illustrates many of the features of broch-building including a basal gallery, scarcement ledge and guard cell. The broch measures about 9.2m in diameter within a wall up to 4.5m in thickness and surviving to a height of 2.2m. Within the thickness of the wall there is a gallery; the main entrance to this was on the NNW side of the interior where there is a doorway, which also opens onto a stairway to the upper levels of the broch. Two smaller doorways still lintelled by massive slabs provide additional access from the central court into the gallery. Originally the gallery would have been lintelled, and the broch would have been several metres taller (perhaps as much as 8m in all), though there is no reason to think that it would necessarily have reached the heights of Dun Telve, Glenelg (10m) or Mousa in Shetland (13.3m).

The entrance is on the ESE side of the broch; it has checks against which a strong wooden door would rest, the door itself swinging on a pivot-stone still visible in the floor of the passage on the south side. The door could be held in a closed position by a thick wooden bar which was kept in place in twin bar-holes. There is a guard cell on the north side of the passage, the low lintelled doorway leading to a corbelled cell measuring about 2m in diameter.

The interior of the broch would probably have held a range of timber buildings supported by upright posts and by horizontal members, which rested against the scarcement ledge visible on the inner face of the wall at a height of about 1.4m. In a secondary phase the internal arrangements of the broch were radically altered and non-defensive occupation has been envisaged, with the broch walls lowered in height and some of the stone used to provide an additional internal line of walling, which seals off two of the three entrances into the mural gallery.

The original building of the broch probably dates to about the middle of the first century BC with its reconstruction as a non-defensive round-house perhaps about AD 200; the ruins of the broch tower remained the focus for intermittent settlement or shelter in the following centuries, including the Viking Age as is proved by the discovery of a composite bone comb of Norse type. The finds are displayed in the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Argyll and the Western Isles’, (1985).

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