Brotchie's Steading was brought to the attention of Headland Archaeology because of several large fragments of worked whale mandible that were recovered from the N room. These were parts of the blades of two crucks or Highland couples. The 2000 excavation revealed the most recent archaeological levels in plan, whilst an exposed elevation on the down slope side of the building suggested at least 1.5m of stratigraphy and at least 4 phrases of building. A second season's funding enabled excavation within the ruined structure and aimed to establish the depth of surviving archaeological deposits, extent of site in plan and to provide double materials from any structural or occupation phases. Following the third season's fieldwork the full extent of the site remained uncertain, although it is potentially much greater than the area available for excavation suggests. This phase of trial trenching, however, determine that the bank upon which Brotchie's steading now sits is largely man-made. At least two substantial, and still undated, stone structures directly pre-date the steading and these sits upon a depth of over 1.4m of humic deposits which incorporates hearths and a variety of stone features and occupation layers. <1>
Text/Publication/Article: Holden, T.. 2008. Brotchie's Steading, Dunnet, Caithness: a 19th-century croft house and earlier settlement mound. Proc Soc Antiq Scot Volume 138. 267-292. Digital.
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