Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Halkirk, Housle Cairn

Broch (Iron Age)(Possible)

Site Name Halkirk, Housle Cairn

Classification Broch (Iron Age)(Possible)

Alternative Name(s) Housel Cairn

Canmore ID 8299

Site Number ND15NW 1

NGR ND 1190 5960

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 Halkirk
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Caithness
  • Former County Caithness

Archaeology Notes

ND15NW 1.00 1190 5960

(ND 1190 5960) Housle Cairn (NR)

Stone Cists containing Human Remains, Bronze Rings, Iron Spearheads and Pottery found (NAT)

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

(ND 1190 5960) Housel Cairn (NR)

OS 6" map, (1960)

ND15NW 1.01 ND 119 596 Glass Bead

Housel Cairn: supposed broch. A mound, sharply scarped all round, on the top of which are fragmentary ruins which, though appearing to be those of a broch, are so pillaged that definite measurements are unobtainable (RCAHMS 1911).

Uncertain broch (Graham 1949)

'Housle Cairn' (information from estate map). A mound about 250 links (ie. approx 50m) in diameter and 10ft high wherein, circa 1850, several stone cists containing human remains were discovered, also bronze rings, iron spearheads in which were remains of wood, a crude earthenware dish of blue clay, and animal bones with deer horns. On the top of the cairn is a modern one 5 1/2ft high (Ordnance Survey Name Book [ONB] 1872).

RCAHMS 1911; A Graham 1949; Name Book 1872

'Housle Cairn' is 46.0m in overall diameter and 3.5m high and has been severely mutilated and dug into in the NE where traces of walling are now clearly visible. This walling, and the remains of a mound 24.0m in diameter on top of the 'cairn' leave no doubt that these are the remains of a broch. There is now no trace of the modern cairn.

Resurveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (R D) 24 March 1965

(ND 1190 5960) Housle Cairn (NAT) Broch (NR)

OS 6" map, (1970)

The remains of this much disturbed broch mound are as described by the previous field investigator.

Visited by OS (J B) 22 December 1981

'Broch', 'Housle Cairn'. Diameter: 50m. Circular grassy mound 4m high heavily quarried, flat-topped, with two visible terraces on the SW side. Orientation SW-NE.

Rectangular remains (ND 1190 5958). Dimensions: 3.5 x 2m. Rectangular depression with some evidence of a stone setting at the NE end. Orientation NE-SW. [The grid reference for the rectangular remains does not coincide with the location of the cist depicted on the 'broch' mound that is shown on the first edition of the OS 6-inch map (Caithness 1876, sheet xvii). It places the remains on the S side of the mound.

Information from RCAHMS (FO) 14 February 1996]

R J Mercer, NMRS MS/828/19, 1995.


Publication Account (2007)

ND15 14 HOUSLE CAIRN ('Gerston')

ND/1190 5960

A probable broch in Halkirk, Caith-ness, consisting of a much-pillaged large mound about 24m in diameter on top of a larger 'cairn'; this is the classic Caithness 'mound on mound' [3]. In about 1850 some cists were found here with human remains and other finds, including iron [2]. By 1965 traces of a curved wallface had been exposed which makes the diagnosis of the mound on top as a broch more likely [1].

Sources: 1. NMRS site no. ND 15 NW 1: 2. RCAHMS 1911b, 35, no. 115: 3. Graham 1947, 96: 4. Swanson (ms) 1985, 641.

E W MacKie 2007


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions