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Oust

Broch (Iron Age)(Possible)

Site Name Oust

Classification Broch (Iron Age)(Possible)

Canmore ID 7827

Site Number ND06NE 7

NGR ND 0632 6552

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/7827

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Thurso
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Caithness
  • Former County Caithness

Archaeology Notes

ND06NE 7 0632 6552.

(ND 0632 6552) Broughs (NR)

OS 6"map, Caithness, 2nd ed., (1907)

Broch, Oust: In the stackyard at Oust there are two excavations which have probably been the cellar and well of a broch.

The cellar, a rock-cut hole 5ft square and 11ft 3ins deep, contains a rock-cut flight of steps, 2ft wide, the top step 8ft 6ins above the bottom of the hole. The hole is finished above by a converging roof of slabs, 5ft 4ins above ground level.

The other hole, a shaft 2ft square, is 5ft to the E. Down one side are seven steps or shelves of thin flags built into the wall directly above one another. The shaft at the bottom curves slightly to the right, and measures 4ft by 2ft. The lowest portion is entirely cut out of the rock. The depth from the level of the original building to the lowest exposed floor level is 9ft 2ins.

RCAHMS 1911, visited 1910.

The features are exactly as described by RCAHMS, and are located in the centre of a slight, circular, grass-covered rise in the ground, whose conjectural diameter would be 34.0 metres. It is not known whether the cellar and well have been part of a broch, and no further local information could be obtained about their original purpose.

Re-surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (R B) 2 March 1965.

(ND 0632 6552) Broch (NR) (remains of)

OS 6"map, (1969)

The two subterranean structures are unaltered since 1865 (Information from OS {R B} 2 March 1965). The more easterly considered by RCAHMS to be a well, is certainly similar to the rock-cut example at Broch of Gurness, Orkney. The westerly feature cannot be classified with certainty but its form of construction is similar to the adjacent well, and it is presumably contemporary. There is no evidence of a broch structure, and the area is covered in rough grass and bales of hay.

Visited by OS (N K B) 24 August 1981.

Activities

Publication Account (2007)

ND06 7 OUST ('Broughs') ND/0632 6552

Probable broch in Thurso, Caithness, consisting of two excavated drystone chambers in the stack yard at Oust [2]. One is 1.53m (5ft) square and 3.43m (11ft 3in) deep with the lower part rock-cut, and may have been a cellar or well; a flight of 14 rock-cut steps leads down into it, and it has been roofed with converging slabs. A short distance away is a 'shaft' 60cm (2ft) square, also rock-cut at the base. These features were still visible in 1981 [1] but no other signs of a broch are apparent. The nature of the 'well' strongly recalls those found in Orkney brochs, for example at Gurness (site HY32 2).

Sources: 1. NMRS site no. ND 06 NE 7: 2. RCAHMS 1911a, 125-26, no. 455.

E W MacKie 2007

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