MHG1053 - Settlement, Crosskirk


Settlement surrounding Iron Age broch

Type and Period (1)

  • SETTLEMENT (CULTURE -43; CULTURE 409; , Early Iron Age to Early Medieval - 550 BC to 1057 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Scheduled with adjacent chapel (ND07SW 1).
Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 30 June 1995.

This broch was excavated by Dr H Fairhurst and Mr D Taylor between 1966 and 1972. The wall survived to a max height of about 2m internally, and contained a rock-cut well. A rock-cut ditch encircled the tower, and the area between ditch and broch was fully occupied by secondary domestic structures. At conclusion of excavation broch was bulldozed over edge of cliff, and nothing remains of it or outworks apart from some walling in the cliff face. A modern cairn marks the site.
A full excavation report is pending.
Visited by OS (NKB) 13 11 1981; Info from R B Gourlay, Highland Region Archaeologist.

Evidence of occupation as late as the 8th century was found during the excavations.
E W MacKie 1975.

Broch (NR) (rems of) OS 1:10,000 map, (1975)

The remains of this broch, unsafe through coastal erosion, was excavated by Fairhurst and Taylor 1966-1972 on behalf of DoE, before being demolished, earthed over and seeded with grass. The excavation revealed evidence of a secondary settlement within an outwork on E, and an extension of entrance passage east-wards, part of which was converted,in the last stages of occupation, into a souterrain. The outwork commenced in E in front of broch entrance, as a wall 15'thick with an earth core. Further to W where bedrock came near the surface, outwork continued as a terrace-like feature with a 'cell-like' structure behind. In front was a ditch, largely natural, which was 3m deep. In extreme W fence of flag-stones seems to have completed the defences. One of final episodes in the occupation of the site was a burial in the centre of a roughly circular dwelling. The body had been placed in a sitting position and was unaccompanied by grave-goods. As well as native pottery, bonework, querns, etc., finds included 2nd century Samian and a fragment of possibly Roman glass, now in NMAS.
H Fairhurst, D B Taylor and A Morrison 1966; H Fairhurst 1969; H Fairhurst and D B Taylor 1970; 1971; 1972.

Bronze spiral finger-rings.
E W MacKie 1971

This broch survives as a grass-covered circular enclosure, 1.1m max height internally. Traces of outer wall face, 1.5m max height, are exposed in SW, and in N where the cliff edge has eroded. There thickness of wall is 5.5m. There is no evidence of original entrance but it may have been in S where the feature has been mutilated by excavation. Around E periphery of broch there is a shallow depression, and on SW side a bank, 0.5m max height, may have formed part of outer defences. No further information could be found regarding symbol stone found here.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (N K B) 28 October 1964.

The broch at Crosskirk Bay, Reay, has an internal diameter of approx 30-32ft and a wall 14-15ft thick. It has been broken into from S, where there appears to have been an entrance to the left of which the sides of a chamber are visible in the wall. At the edge of the cliff, some 20ft of wall about 4 to 5ft high is exposed. On the landward side about 10ft from the broch are the remains of an outer bank or wall, now some 8ft wide at the base.
RCAHMS 1911; H Dryden 1871 (Soc of Antiqs Ms No. 21)

A rectangular symbol stone, 2ft 3ins high and 2ft 2ins wide, a facsimile of which is at Thurso Castle, is said to have been found at this broch and to have been given to King of Denmark by Sir George Sinclair.
J R Allen and J Anderson 1903; J Stuart 1856.

Class I symbol stone (lost) showed a crescent and V-rod and a horseshoe.
A.Mack 1997 p.141

Crosskirk Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9465.

Crosskirk Broch '68 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9920.

Crosskirk Broch '68, Crosskirk Revisited (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9914.

Crosskirk Broch '70 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9915.

Crosskirk Broch '70, Enclosure II, 3 phases (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9487.

Crosskirk Broch '70, Excavation of pot (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9925.

Crosskirk Broch '70, Medieval (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9938.

Crosskirk Broch '70, Medieval Entrance? (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9944.

Crosskirk Broch '70, pot repairers (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9908.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Blocked ent. Enc. II (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9492.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Burial 1 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9942.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Burial 1 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9936.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Burial 2 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9948.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Burial 2 Cover (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9907.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Burial 3, Enc. 1 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9953.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Clay Core E/W Section (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9947.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Clay Core E/W Section (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9941.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Clay Core Stairway (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9935.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Clay Core, Guard Cell (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9952.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Enc. I Entrance (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9484.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Enc. II levels (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9491.

Crosskirk Broch '71, enc. II, uprights (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9499.

Crosskirk Broch '71, enclosure 1, lower wall (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9479.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Enclosure 3 & hearth (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9494.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Enclosure I & door (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9490.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Enclosure I Entrance (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9485.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Enclosure I, Hoy view (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9496.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Enclosure II (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9493.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Enclosure II, (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9497.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Enclosure II, Entrance (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9486.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Enclosure III, hearth & Enc.V (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9488.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Enclosure North (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9943.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Extended Passage (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9902.

Crosskirk Broch '71, finds (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9910.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Out Rampart Ent. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9891.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Outwork (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9933.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Outwork (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9950.

Crosskirk Broch '71, pot (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9909.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Rampart E. of Entrance (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9903.

Crosskirk Broch '71, stone objects (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9916.

Crosskirk Broch '71, Wall (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9482.

Crosskirk Broch '72, annexe below Hoy view (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9480.

Crosskirk Broch '72, burial (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9919.

Crosskirk Broch '72, burial (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9913.

Crosskirk broch '72, Drain & Ramp ent. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9885.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Drain below passage (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9884.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Drain below passage (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9890.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Drain below passage (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9896.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Enclosure 5 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9500.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Field Dyke (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9939.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Field Dyke (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9946.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Field Dyke, E/W Section (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9940.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Field Dyke, W. of Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9934.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Field Dyke, W. of Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10229.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Hearth below Pass. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9901.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Hoy view, pit (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9481.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Outer rampart (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9894.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Outer Skins (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9951.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Passage Entrance (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9895.

Crosskirk Broch '72, paving (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9887.

Crosskirk Broch '72, paving (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9893.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Paving (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9904.

Crosskirk Broch '72, pit below enc. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9498.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Rampart (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9897.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Rampart (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9898.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Rampart (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9899.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Rampart (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9900.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Rampart (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9905.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Rampart Entrance (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9892.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Rampart Entrance (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9888.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Rampart Entrance (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9886.

Crosskirk Broch '72, rampart extension- drain (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9478.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Rampart, early paving (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9906.

Crosskirk Broch '72, Tank, W. Platform (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9937.

Crosskirk Broch '72, W. Platform (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9495.

Crosskirk Broch '72, W. Platform (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9501.

Crosskirk Broch '72, W. Platform from Broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9932.

Crosskirk Broch '72, W. Platform lower levels (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9483.

Crosskirk Broch '72, W. Platform Phases (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9949.

Crosskirk Broch '72, W. Platform Tank (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9931.

Crosskirk Broch '72, W. Platform, hut (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9489.

Crosskirk Broch '72, W. Section, E-W outside broch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9945.

Crosskirk Broch '73 from SW (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9440.

Crosskirk Broch, '73 from chapel (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9443.

Crosskirk Broch, air (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9436.

Crosskirk Broch, bed (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9402.

Crosskirk Broch, bed nr. entrance (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9471.

Crosskirk Broch, broch entrance (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9469.

Crosskirk Broch, Broch Plan Phase 1 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10091.

Crosskirk Broch, Broch Plan phase 3 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10099.

Crosskirk Broch, Broch Plan, phase 2 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10090.

Crosskirk Broch, burial (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9529.

Crosskirk Broch, burial (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9535.

Crosskirk Broch, cell entrance (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9461.

Crosskirk Broch, chamber & O.S. Wall (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9545.

Crosskirk broch, chamber east end (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9534.

Crosskirk Broch, chamber west end (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9528.

Crosskirk Broch, chapel (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9468.

Crosskirk Broch, coutyard sections (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10098.

Crosskirk Broch, drain (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9473.

Crosskirk Broch, drain below ent. passage (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9464.

Crosskirk Broch, enclosure 2 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9546.

Crosskirk Broch, Entrance lintel (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9463.

Crosskirk Broch, entrance passage (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9458.

Crosskirk Broch, entrance passage (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9475.

Crosskirk Broch, entrance section (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10110.

Crosskirk Broch, Finds '71 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9927.

Crosskirk Broch, floor & underlying rock (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9459.

Crosskirk Broch, floor & underlying rock (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9476.

Crosskirk Broch, Forse (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9438.

Crosskirk Broch, from sea (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9434.

Crosskirk Broch, gallery (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9538.

Crosskirk Broch, general (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9437.

Crosskirk Broch, general (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9439.

Crosskirk Broch, general (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9433.

Crosskirk Broch, general (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9442.

Crosskirk Broch, guard cell (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9526.

Crosskirk Broch, hearth (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9527.

Crosskirk Broch, hearth (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9544.

Crosskirk Broch, Holed Stones '70 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9926.

Crosskirk Broch, interior tertiary (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9441.

Crosskirk Broch, interior tertiary (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9435.

Crosskirk Broch, interior well (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9457.

Crosskirk Broch, JCB at work 1970 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10096.

Crosskirk Broch, large tank (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9431.

Crosskirk Broch, later narrowing removed (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9530.

Crosskirk Broch, lintel general chamber (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9477.

Crosskirk Broch, narrowing of passage (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9542.

Crosskirk Broch, O.S. Wall & Platform (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9541.

Crosskirk Broch, objects of stone (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9922.

Crosskirk Broch, passage (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9543.

Crosskirk Broch, passage (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9537.

Crosskirk Broch, passage (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9883.

Crosskirk Broch, Passage (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9889.

Crosskirk Broch, passage blocking of w. stairway (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9547.

Crosskirk Broch, passage from S (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9531.

Crosskirk Broch, passage side steps (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9549.

Crosskirk Broch, passage stair to W. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9548.

Crosskirk Broch, patch (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9467.

Crosskirk Broch, Plan (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10079.

Crosskirk Broch, plan (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10115.

Crosskirk Broch, Plan Medieval (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10105.

Crosskirk Broch, Plan, extra- mural structures (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10078.

Crosskirk Broch, plan, interior (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10085.

Crosskirk Broch, Rock Stack (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9444.

Crosskirk Broch, Scarcement? (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9532.

Crosskirk Broch, sect. below foundations (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9470.

Crosskirk Broch, sections (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10100.

Crosskirk Broch, sections (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10104.

Crosskirk Broch, Settlement Phase 3 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10106.

Crosskirk Broch, Settlement phases 1 & 2 (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10111.

Crosskirk Broch, site plan (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9536.

Crosskirk Broch, site plan & excavation (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10097.

Crosskirk Broch, slab with bung (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9921.

Crosskirk Broch, stair (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9539.

Crosskirk Broch, stair (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9533.

Crosskirk Broch, storm (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9432.

Crosskirk Broch, tank (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9414.

Crosskirk Broch, tank (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9454.

Crosskirk Broch, tank (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9455.

Crosskirk Broch, tank (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9460.

Crosskirk Broch, tank (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9466.

Crosskirk Broch, tank (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9472.

Crosskirk Broch, well collapsed (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9456.

Crosskirk Broch, well discovered (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9462.

Crosskirk Broch, well discovered (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9413.

Crosskirk Broch, well discovered (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9474.

Crosskirk Broch, work in progress (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9430.

Crosskirk Broch. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG11536.

Crosskirk Broch. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG11537.

Crosskirk Brooch, outer skins (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9540.

Crosskirk, broch, general (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG8487.

Crosskirk, cairn to broch. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14922.

Stuart, J, 1856, Sculptured stones of Scotland, 11; pl. 30 (Text/Publication/Monograph). SHG350.

Allen and Anderson, J R and J, 1903, The early Christian monuments of Scotland: a classified illustrated descriptive list of the monuments with an analysis of their symbolism and ornamentation, Pt. 3, 30; illust. (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG1883.

Fairhurst, Taylor and Morrison, H, D H and A, 1966, 'Crosskirk broch', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1966, p.19-20, 19-20 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG489.

Fairhurst, H, 1969, 'Crosskirk, broch', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1969, p.16, 16 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG491.

Fairhurst and Taylor, H and D B, 1970, 'Crosskirk, broch', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1970, p.19-20, 19-20 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG492.

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

Fairhurst and Taylor, H and D B, 1971, 'Crosskirk, broch', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1971, p.53, 53 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG493.

MacKie, E W, 1971, 'English migrants and Scottish brochs', Glasgow Archaeol J Vol. 2 1971, p.39-71, 69 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG722.

Fairhurst and Taylor, H and D B, 1972, 'Crosskirk, broch and settlement site', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1972, p.54, 54 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG490.

MacKie, E W, 1975, Scotland: an archaeological guide: from the earliest times to the twelfth century, 229 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2472.

Fairhurst, H, 1984, Excavations at Crosskirk broch, Caithness (Text/Publication/Monograph). SHG3050.

Ritchie, J N G, 1985, Pictish symbol stones: a handlist 1985, 11 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2712.

Lane, A, 1988, 'English migrants in the Hebrides: "Atlantic Second B" revisited', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 117 1987, p.47-66, 57, 60 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG723.

Mackie, E W and Davis, A, 1991, 'New light on Neolithic rock carving. The petroglyphs at Greenland (Auchentorlie), Dumbartonshire', Glasgow Archaeol J, Vol 15 (1988-89), pp 125-155, 145, 149 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1156.

Armit, I, 1992, 'The Atlantic Scottish Iron Age: five levels of chronology', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 121 1991, p.181-214, 207; illus 2 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1616.

Mack, A, 1997, Field guide to the Pictish symbol stones, 141 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2456.

Sources/Archives (189)



Grid reference Centred ND 0248 7012 (160m by 160m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet ND07SW
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (6)

  • QUERN (Undated)
  • RING (Undated)
  • VESSEL (Undated)
  • VESSEL (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (4)

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