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Lewis, Dun Carloway

Broch (Iron Age)

Site Name Lewis, Dun Carloway

Classification Broch (Iron Age)

Alternative Name(s) Doune Carloway; Dun Carloway Broch; Charlabhaigh

Canmore ID 4121

Site Number NB14SE 1

NGR NB 19002 41230

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Digital Images

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish Uig
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Recording Your Heritage Online

Doune Carloway (Dun Charlabhagh), first millennium bc Broch with two concentric drystone walls, after Mousa in Shetland one of the best preserved examples of its type. It was built in the same manner as the Glenelg brochs, although here there is an oval guard chamber on the south side of the entrance, and close examination of the masonry suggests that the internal skin dates from at least four different periods. The south side, furling up from a brackeny knoll, stands almost intact to the original height of 9 m; people alive in the 1830s remembered seeing it in a near-complete state, roofed over with a large flat stone.

Doune Broch Centre, Michael Leybourne for Western Isles Council Technical Services Consultancy, 1997. Pleasingly contextual visitors' centre, fitting snugly into the hillside, its curving, turf-topped drystone walls expressing the robustness of the broch.

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NB14SE 1 19002 41230

(NB 1899 4122) Dun Carloway: Broch (NR)

OS 6" map, (1965)

A broch, which, though broken and incomplete, is one of the best preserved in the Western Isles, part of the old walling on the east still attaining a height of about 30'. It has an average external diameter of 47', the walls varying from 10 to 12' overall. Repairs have been carried out on the upper parts of the east wall where it is single, the inner wall having disappeared.

Finds from the broch are in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS).

RCAHMS 1928; Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1909; (Broch visible on St Joseph air photograph RD3, 9)

Dun Carloway, a broch, as described and planned.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (R L) 25 June 1969.


Publication Account (2007)

Carloway Broch, Isle of Lewis

Little is known of the origin and purpose of the brochs; it appears that they were all lofty structures but the original height at Carloway is not known. It certainly required competent building skills to construct. The remains of the structure are circular in plan with a low narrow doorway giving access to the interior courtyard. A good average internal diameter is 32 ft. The thick walls are built hollow at ground level and the structure tapers to give a conical profile.

Much of the broch is missing, probably because the carefully built drystone masonry was easily pilfered for other buildings, but the form of the structure is clearly seen on inspection. Generally brochs are considered to date from about 200BC continuing into the Christian era.

R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Highlands and Islands' with kind permission from Thomas Telford Publishers.


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