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Broch (Iron Age)(Possible), Finger Ring (Bronze)

Site Name Scottag

Classification Broch (Iron Age)(Possible), Finger Ring (Bronze)

Canmore ID 8735

Site Number ND25NE 5

NGR ND 2566 5699

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

ND25NE 5 2566 5699

(ND 2566 5699) Cairn (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1975)

Broch, Scottag: The flat stones exposed about the surface show this to be the remains of a broch whose present elevation is about 5ft; it is a low mound overgrown with grass and surmounted by a modern cairn.


Part of this mound was removed by Mr Sutherland (Scottag) in the winter of 1870-1. A small square stone cist was discovered full of decayed bones and black earth. A bronze buckle and finger-ring, also some pieces of deer's horns in excellent preservation and of a very large size were found.

Name Book 1871

Situated on fairly level ground is an irregular mound 21.0m E-W by 16.0m transversely and 1.7m high, surmounted by a modern beehive-shaped cairn. There is little evidence of flat stones about the surface as stated by the RCAHM and little to indicate that this feature has been a broch. From the finds described in the Ordnance Survey Name Book (ONB, 1871), this monument is more likely to be a cairn.

Revised at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (R D L) 23 April 1963

A bronze spiral finger-ring, found in a mound at Watten was purchased for the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS) in 1894 (Accession no: DO 35).

Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1894; D V Clarke 1971

The mound, situated in a prominent position in the corner of a pasture field, is generally as described by the previous field investigator; it is turf-covered and no details of its content are exposed. It appears to occupy the summit of a lower mound which is itself ploughed down; in the N a farm road runs over it. The impression given is of a 'mound on mound ' effect common to brochs in Caithness, but this effect is accentuated by ploughing across the S side. On the E side this lower mound has been quarried down to original ground level. The purpose of this feature remains uncertain. Though its appearance suggests a broch rather than a cairn, the discovery of a cist is strong evidence for a cairn, though conceivably it could have been found in the aforementioned quarry, overlaid by a broch. The modern cairn noted by previous OS field investigator has collapsed.

Visited by OS (J B) 5 April 1982

Bronze spiral finger-ring.

E W MacKie 1971

'Broch'. Diameter: 50m. Grass-covered mound 2m high showing mound on mound construction. The lower mound 50m diameter is surmounted by a 16m diameter mound.

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


Publication Account (2007)

ND25 14 SCOTTAG ND/2566 5699

Possible broch in Watten, Caithness, now a low stony mound about 1.5m (5ft) high. In 1870, while part of the mound was being removed, a stone cist was found containing decayed bones, black earth, a finger-ring and a bronze buckle; there were also some well-preserved fragments of deer antler. The cist may mean that the mound is a cairn but if the bronze spiral finger-ring of Iron Age type, found in 'a mound at Watten", which was bought by the National Museum in 1894 [3], is from this site then it is likely to be a broch.

Sources: 1. NMRS site no. ND 25 NE 5: 2. Proc Soc Antiq Scot 28 (1893-94), 239 (find): 3. RCAHMS 1911b, 130-31, no. 470.

E W MacKie 2007


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