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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 655035

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


ND36SW 1 3488 6151.

(ND 3488 6151) Kirk Tofts (NAT) Broch (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1976)

The Road Broch is one of the best examples of a 1st phase broch (1st centuries BC and AD), although it was re-used during the Broch II phase (2nd, 3rd centuries AD) and again during the post-broch era. It was built on a mesolithic kitchen midden.

The dimensions of the original broch appear to have been 34ft internal diameter, with walls only about 12ft thick.

The second phase of occupation involved external strengthening of the walls, the creation of a secondary entrance, and the blocking of the original entrance, as at Keiss. During the third phase of occupation the secondary entrance was blocked and the original entrance re-opened again as at Keiss. The large circular court at the entrance, with the accompanying outbuildings, the internal slab compartments, and the massive wall that surrounds the complex, also belong to this period. Finds from the broch include vessels and implements of bone and stone, querns (both saddle and rotary), ingot moulds and sherds, including a fragment of 2nd century Samian ware.

Anderson notes the foundations of an oblong, rectangular building which he suggests could be the church (ND36SW 2) which is said to have stood in the vicinity; but similar buildings are associated with Keiss broch (ND36SE 2) and Whitegate broch (ND36SE 3). The foundations lie between the circumavallation, the graveyard and the road, and since they overlie the wall of an outbuilding by some 4ft, appear to be of much later date.

S Laing 1866; Name Book 1873; J Anderson 1901; RCAHMS 1911, visited 1910; A D Lacaille 1954; A Young 1964.

'Kirk Tofts' Broch, now overgrown, is generally as described above. There is no trace of the alleged church noted by Anderson and only the SE arc of the outer rampart is clearly discernible.

Resurveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (N K B) 6 September 1965.

Samian sherd now in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS).

A S Robertson 1970.

The NW entrance has a feature very rare in brochs, a stair running up from the W side of the passage, which recalls the design of the dun at Forse. It is probable that this broch shows how an imported fort plan was modified by the pre-existing local traditions seen at Forse.

E W MacKie 1975.

A hipped bone pin and a slotted and pointed iron object from the site are datable to the period about 600 - 934 AD by comparison with finds from Lagore crannog, Co. Meath.

R B K Stevenson 1955; L R Laing 1975.

The second of the two finds (above) is presumably the 'harpoon of iron 1ft 8 1/2ins in length, the barb 1 5/8 by 1 3/4ins with a slot below it, from the surface rubbish over the mound on Keiss Broch'.

Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1908.

No change to the previous field report.

Visited by OS (J M) 30 April 1982.

ND 3 6 (area) As part of a wider study of Iron Age Caithness, the broch settlements at Everley (ND 3699 6828), Keiss Harbour (ND 3531 6108), Keiss Road (ND 3488 6151), Whitegate (ND 3541 6120), Skirza (ND 3940 6844), and Hillhead (ND 3762 5140) were recorded by total station survey in June 2000. Aspects of the artefactual assemblage uncovered during 19th-century excavations by Laing and Tress Barry were also studied.

Sponsor: National Museums of Scotland (NMS).

A Heald and A Jackson 2000

ND 349 615; ND 370 631 As part of a wider study of Iron Age Caithness, the brochs and settlement complexes at Keiss Road, Wick (ND36SW 1), and Nybster, Wick (ND36SE 4) were surveyed in September 2004. The sites were previously investigated in the late 19th century by Sir Francis Tress Barry.

Sponsors: Highland Council, Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise, Caithness Archaeological Trust, AOC Archaeology Group, University of Nottingham, NMS.

J Barber, A Heald and J Henderson 2004

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