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Record details

ID:MHG1650
Type of record:Monument
Name:Keiss Road Broch
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Images

Keiss Roadside Broch (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilKeiss Roadside Broch (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilKeiss Roadside Broch (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilKeiss Roadside Broch (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilKeiss Roadside Broch (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilKeiss Roadside Broch (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilKeiss Roadside Broch (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilKeiss Roadside Broch (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilKeiss Roadside Broch (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilKeiss Roadside Broch (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilKeiss Roadside Broch (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland CouncilKeiss Roadside Broch (photo by Highland Council)  © Highland Council

Reports

Fieldwork Report  © AOC Archaeological Group (File size: 379 KB)
Grid Reference:ND 3488 6151
Map Sheet:ND36SW
Civil Parish:WICK
Geographical Area:CAITHNESS

Monument Types

  • BROCH (CULTURE 100; CULTURE 199; , Mesolithic to Early Medieval - 8000 BC to 1057 AD)

Associated Finds

Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 560: Kirk Tofts, broch, Keiss

Other References/Statuses

  • Historic Environment Record: MHG1650
  • NMRS NUMLINK Reference: 9333
  • NMRS Record Details: ND36SW1 KEISS, KIRK TOFTS, 'ROAD' BROCH
  • Old SMR Reference Number: ND36SW0001

Full description

RCAHMS. 1911. Caithness. Edinburgh: HMSO, 156-7, No. 516.
Road or Kirk Tofts, Keiss, ND36SW0001

This broch, dug out in the late nineteenth century, appears much as it did when first excavated, although it is now rather overgrown. It consists of the broch tower lying at the centre of a maze of humps and bumps representing associated structures. (43)

Within the tower, a sense of the way in which the living space was organised can be seen in the arrangements of upright slabs dividing the floor into separate areas. The opening to an underground well or chamber close to the centre and a slab built tank can also be seen. (51)

(10.2m/13.8m/2m)
Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.
RCAHMS. 1911. Caithness. Edinburgh: HMSO, 157-8, No. 517.
Information from SCRAN Project, March, 2000

ND36SW 1 3488 6151.
Kirk Tofts (NAT) Broch (NR) OS 1:10,000 map, (1976)

The Road Broch is one of the best examples of a 1st phase broch (1st centuries BC and AD), although it was re-used during Broch II phase (2nd, 3rd centuries AD) and again during the post-broch era. It was built on a mesolithic kitchen midden.
The dimensions of original broch appear to have been 34ft internal diam, with walls only about 12ft thick.
The second phase of occupation involved external strengthening of walls, creation of a secondary entrance and blocking of original entrance, as at Keiss. During the third phase of occupation secondary entrance was blocked and original entrance re-opened again as at Keiss. The large circular court at the entrance, with accompanying outbuildings, internal slab compartments, and massive wall that surrounds complex, also belong to this period. Finds from broch include vessels and implements of bone and stone, querns (both saddle and rotary), ingot moulds and sherds, including a fragment of 2nd century Samian ware.
Anderson notes foundations of an oblong, rectangular building which he suggests could be church (ND36SW 2) which is said to have stood in the vicinity; but similar buildings are associated with Keiss broch (ND36SE 2) and Whitegate broch (ND36SE 3). The foundations lie between the circumavallation, the graveyard and the road, and since they overlie the wall of an outbuilding by some 4ft, appear to be of much later date. A Young 1964; RCAHMS 1911, visited 1910; J Anderson 1901; Name Book 1873; A D Lacaille 1954; S Laing 1866.

'Kirk Tofts' Broch, now overgrown, is generally as described above. There is no trace of the alleged church noted by Anderson and only SE arc of outer rampart is clearly discernible.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (N K B) 6 September 1965.

Samian sherd now in NMAS. A S Robertson 1970.

NW entrance has a feature very rare in brochs, a stair running up from W side of passage, which recalls design of the dun at Forse. It is probable that this broch shows how an imported fort plan was modified by the pre-existing local traditions seen at Forse.
E W MacKie 1975.

A hipped bone pin and a slotted and pointed iron object from the site are datable to the period about 600 - 934 AD by comparison with finds from Lagore crannog, Co. Meath.
R B K Stevenson 1955; L R Laing 1975.

The second of the two finds (above) is presumably the 'harpoon of iron 1ft 8.5ins in length, the barb 1 5/8 by 1.75ins with a slot below it, from the surface rubbish over the mound on Keiss Broch'.
Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1908.

The broch was photographed by the Highland Council in 2000(?) as part of the SCRAN Project. <1> <2> <3> <4> <5> <6> <7> <8> <9> <10> <11> <12>

As part of a wider study of Iron Age Caithness, spnsored by the National Museums of Scotland, Keiss Road Broch was one of six such sites recorded by total station survey in 2000. <13>

The broch was one of two such sites subsequently surveyed in September 2004 in a project overseen by AOC Archaeology Group and involving students of the University of Nottingham as part of the wider study into Iron Age Caithness.

Two 2m x 1m trial trenches were excavated in 2006 by AOC Archaeology Group. One trench was excavated within the central area of the broch, and a second one outside and to the northeast of the broch. The trench in the interior revealed no surviving in situ deposits. The trench outwith the broch revealed a topsoil deposit of at least 2m depth. No direct evidence of archaeological structures or artefacts was encountered. <14>


Laing, S, 1866, Pre-historic remains of Caithness, 20-2 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2403.


Anderson, J, 1901, 'Notices of nine Brochs along the Caithness coast from Keiss Bay to Skirza Head, excavated by Sir Francis Tress Barry, Bart., MP., of Keiss Castle, Caithness', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 35 1900-1, p.112-48, 131, 139; plan (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1296.


PSAS, 1909, 'Donations to and purchases for the Museum and Library, with exhibits', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 43 1908-9, p.8-23, 73-5, 145-6, 176-9, 268-71, 291-5, 19 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG624.


RCAHMS, 1911, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Third report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Caithness, 157-8, No. 517; plan (Text/Report). SHG2664.


Lacaille, A D, 1954, The Stone Age in Scotland, 266 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2399.


Stevenson, R B K, 1955, 'Pins and the chronology of brochs', Proc Prehist Soc Vol. 21 1955, p.282-94, 285 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1353.


Young, A, 1964, 'Brochs and duns', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 95 1961-2, p.171-98, 181-2, No. 16 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG293.


Robertson, A S, 1970, 'Roman finds from non-Roman sites in Scotland', Britannia Vol. 1 1970, p.198-226, table 2 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1444.


Hartley, B R, 1972, 'The Roman occupations of Scotland: the evidence of samian ware', Britannia Vol. 3 1972, p.1-55, 55, No. 8 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1714.


MacKie, E W, 1975, Scotland: an archaeological guide: from the earliest times to the twelfth century, 228 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2472.


Laing, L R, 1975, The archaeology of late Celtic Britain and Ireland c. 400-1200 AD, 162 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2402.


<1> Highland Council, 2000?, Keiss Roadside Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14502.


<2> Highland Council, 2000?, Keiss Roadside Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14503.


<3> Highland Council, 2000?, Keiss Roadside Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14504.


<4> Highland Council, 2000?, Keiss Roadside Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14505.


<5> Highland Council, 2000?, Keiss Roadside Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14506.


<6> Highland Council, 2000?, Keiss Roadside Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14507.


<7> Highland Council, 2000?, Keiss Roadside Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14508.


<8> Highland Council, 2000?, Keiss Roadside Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14509.


<9> Highland Council, 2000?, Keiss Roadside Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14510.


<10> Highland Council, 2000?, Keiss Roadside Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14511.


<11> Highland Council, 2000?, Keiss Roadside Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14512.


<12> Highland Council, 2000?, Keiss Roadside Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14513.


<13> Heald, A. & Jackson, A., 2001, Towards a new understanding of Iron Age Caithness (Text/Publication/Article). SHG3035.


<14> Barber, J., 2006, A short note on archaeological excavation and survey carried out at Keiss Road Broch, Keiss, Caithness (Text/Report/Fieldwork Report). SHG25796.

Related Monument/Building records

MHG42433Parent of: Road Broch (Monument)

Related Investigations

EHG4086Trial trenching and survey - Keiss Road Broch (Ref:AOC 10039)

Related documents/files/web pages

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