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Kempie, Camus An Duin

Broch (Iron Age)

Site Name Kempie, Camus An Duin

Classification Broch (Iron Age)

Canmore ID 4919

Site Number NC45NW 1

NGR NC 4459 5797

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/4919

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Durness
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NC45NW 1 4459 5797.

(NC 4459 5797) Broch (NR)

OS 6"map, (1961)

Broch or Dun, Camus an Duin: The remains of an elliptical structure with a 5 ft wide entrance to seaward. Overall dimensions were about 55 ft by 42 ft. The indefinite outline of the N wall prevents an accurate measurement. The thickness of the wall by the entrance is 14 ft, and on the S side near the centre, 10 ft. On the S side of the entrance, the outer face of the wall is 8 ft high, and for 43 ft around the circumference in that direction it still remains several feet in height, but beyond that it is overgrown with turf. At 4 ft from the outside on the right of the passage, a square-edged intake shows that there has been an entrance to a chamber or stair at this point. The interior on the S side is full of debris, and there are suggestions of chambers in the thickness of the wall. A circular depression about 3 1/2 ft across, near the E end may be the site of a well. The edge of the rocks on the loch side is 22 ft distant from the entrance and the approach appears to have been flanked with rubble mounds or walls on either side. The remains of steps leading to the shore are still visible.

RCAHMS 1911.

This broch has been almost completely covered by additional buildings to the N of Kempie. All that is now visible is part of the N quadrant including the entrance, of which the lintel only can be seen. The wall stands to a maximum height of 1.3 m here. The steps, etc. to the shore have all disappeared. (For a possible reference to this broch, see NC45NW 7).

Visited by OS (W D J) 2 June 1959.

Two bronze finger-rings pssibly found in this Broch.

E J Mackie 1971

The remains of a broch, as described by the previous field investigator.

Visited by OS (N K B) 30 October 1978.

Activities

Publication Account

NC45 1 CAMAS AN DUIN ('Kempie')

NC/4459 5797

This probable broch at Kempie in Durness, Sutherland, stands on the east shore of Loch Eriboll on a short, low, rock promontory a few feet above the water (visited 10/7/63). Since the Commission's visit in 1909 it has been almost totally obscured by the concrete floor of the yard attached to the house which has been built next to the site. A few massive foundation stones are still visible. The description below refers to the state of the site in 1909.

The building seems to have been elliptical with an entrance 1.5m (5ft) wide facing the water and the point of the rock; the external diameters are about 16.8 and 12.8m (55 and 42ft) , though the position of the wall on the north side is uncertain. The wall seems to vary in thickness, being 4.27m (14ft) at the entrance, and 3m (10ft) on the south side. The outer wallface is 2.4m (8ft) high on the south side of the entrance and is here visible for 13.1m (43ft). There is a suggestion of a doorway into the wall from the interior on the right of the entrance, and of chambers in the wall elsewhere. The remains of steps leading down to the shore were visible [2].

It seems highly probable that this is the broch referred to by Joass as having been explored in about 1870 by Captain Clarke of Meddat, Ross-shire, and from which came the two bronze spiral finger-rings which he illustrates, without explanation [3, 4]. Also found were bones of seal, deer, ox and pig, together with some “rude scrapers of quartzite” [3]. No other information about this excavation has been traced.

Sources: 1. NMRS site no. NC 45 NW 1: 2. RCAHMS 1911a, 54, no. 157: 3. Joass 1890, pl. xvl: 4. MacKie 1971, 69.

E W MacKie 2007

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