Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

An Dun

Broch (Iron Age)

Site Name An Dun

Classification Broch (Iron Age)

Alternative Name(s) Carn Liath

Canmore ID 13062

Site Number NH59SE 5

NGR NH 5669 9098

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2024.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Kincardine (Sutherland)
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Archaeology Notes

NH59SE 5 5669 9098.

(NH 5669 9098) An Dun (NR) (Supposed Pictish Fort)

OS 6"map, Ross-shire, 2nd ed., (1907).

Classified as a broch by Graham and Watson, and said, by Watson, to be known as 'Carn Liath'.

A Graham 1949; W J Watson 1904.

The remains of a broch with outworks, known locally as An Dun, situated in a strong defensive position on a promontory between the River Carron and Allt Dounie.

The broch survives as an overgrown mound with a central depression which has been partially cleared revealing intermittent traces of the inner wall face which suggest an internal diameter of about 10.5m. No other measurements can be determined. A gap in the SE with a displaced lintel stone within, probably denotes the entrance, but no details are evident. It is defended in the N, S, and W by the steep slopes of the promontory, and in the E by two substantial ramparts drawn across the neck of the promontory, each fronted by a ditch c. 8.0m wide, the outermost being rock-cut at its S end. The outer rampart appears to have been revetted internally with dressed stones. The entrance has probably been in the S where the defences end on the natural slopes. A bank, showing set stones, occurs outside these defences and is probably another mutilated rampart. The broch and outworks are clearly contemporary.

Revised at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (N K B) 30 September 1969.

An Dun (NAT) Broch (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1971).

No change to previous field report.

Visited by OS (J M) 23 November 1976.


Field Visit (11 September 1943)

About three quarters of a mile WNW of Gledfield House, a small burn which has run down into the valley of the Carron from the S turns sharply W for the final 100 yds of its course before it eners the rover, which is here running from SW to NE, and then curving more nearly E, through a rock bound gorge. The lowest part of the small burn likewise runs in a gorge, and between it and the river there is thus a triangular promontory with the crag that forms its point facing W and its precipitous rocky sides approximately S and NW respectively. These are each about 30ft high. Its base, on the E, adjoins arable land.

This promontory is the site of a broch. The broch-tower, now reduced to a mound of grass-grown debris up to 8ft high, with a hollow in the interior which shows evident traces of excavation, occupies practically the whole width of the promontory, its W edge being 80ft E of the extremity. The intervening ground is generally level, but has been made up in recent times at the W end to provide foundations for a summer-house; while to judge by some building-stones which appear along the NW side it is possible that a made-up terrace may have originally existed here. Of the structure of the tower no features can now be identified except some fragmentary showings of the inner wall-face. These do not fall exactly on the circumference of a circle, and the masonry may, in fact, have been too much disturbed by slipping and tree-roots for exactitude to be possible; but they suggest that the internal diameter may have been rather over 30 ft. As far as can be judged from the depth of the hollows left in the interior by the excavators, these showings of the wall face are probably below scarcement level. In the SE sector the mound of debris is interrupted by a gap which probably marks the position of the entrance. A small piece of iron slag was found among the debris of the wall.

On the E side of the broch-tower the promontory is traversed by a series of defensive works. About 50 yds from the supposed entrance to the tower (supra), along the S lip of the promontory, there is the S end of a massive but dilapidated stony rampart 22ft broad over all by 3ft high internally. Starting about 10’ in from the lip of the precipice—this gap having apparently been left to give access to the tower—the rampart runs N, then swings NW concentrically with the wall of the tower, and disappears before reaching the NW side of the promontory. There are some indications of what may be ‘out-buildings’ between the rampart and the tower on the NE side of the latter. The outer slope of the rampart descends without interruption to a wide ditch, the bottom of which is 10ft below the crest of the rampart. The outer or E side of this ditch is formed by a natural ridge, which seems to have been improved with masonry to some extent to create of it a second rampart which crosses the base of the promontory in the same manner as the first; and outside this second rampart a natural hollow runs up into the promontory from the N, from the head of which a ditch has been formed—partly by cutting through rock—to bound the outer side of the ridge on which the second rampart stands. The cutting varies in breadth from 10ft to 14ft 6ins.

Visited by RCAHMS (A Graham, VG Childe) 11 September 1943.

Publication Account (2007)

NH59 2 CARN LIATH 3 ('An Dun')

NH/5669 9098

Possible broch with outworks in Kincardine, Sutherland, standing in a strong defensive position on a promontory between the river Carron and the stream Allt Dounie. It consists of an overgrown mound with a central depression in which there are traces of a circular inner wallface, suggesting an internal diameter of c. 10.5m. There is a gap in the south-east, with a displaced lintel, which might be the entrance [1]. There are outer defences on the east, the shallowest approach, consisting of two substantial ramparts across the neck of the promontory with traces of a third beyond these.

Sources: 1. NMRS site no. NH 59 SE 5: 2. Watson 1904, 31: 3. Graham 1947, 95.

E W MacKie 2007

Note (26 March 2015 - 31 May 2016)

This fortification is situated on a promontory formed at the confluence of the Allt Downie and the River Carron, both of which have incised deep gorges into the rocks at this point of their courses. Its defences comprise two elements: a broch reduced to little more than a mound on the crest of the promontory; and at least two ramparts with external ditches cutting across the neck to bar access from the E. The dimensions of the area enclosed on the promontory are not recorded, but the broch-mound straddles virtually the whole of the crest, which is thus in the order of 20m in breadth, and other measurements noted in 1943 by Angus Graham and Gordon Childe suggest an overall length of about 80m (0.25ha) to the rear of the inner of the outer ramparts. Measuring over 6m in thickness by 0.9m in internal height, this stands 3m above the bottom of an external ditch 8m in breadth, and is drawn in an arc across the neck to terminate at an entrance approaching along the S margin of the promontory. The outer rampart and ditch appear to enhance natural features, but traces of an inner face are visible and a rock-cut section of the ditch on the crest of the promontory is 4.4m broad; a possible third rampart can also be seen outside this line. Apart from the broch, the only feature in the interior is a terrace where a summer-house stood overlooking the river at the W tip of the promontory.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 31 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2920


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions