MHG10772 - Broch - Achcoillenaborgie


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Type and Period (1)

  • BROCH (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Achcoillenaborgie, NC75NW0002

(NC 7139 5942) Broch (NR) OS 6"map, (1964)

The denuded remains of a broch, 28 feet diameter within a wall 14 feet thick, with an entrance in north. The walls of a chamber lie 8 feet west of the passage and the remains of buildings lie outside. RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909.

The site was Scheduled in 1939.

The remains of a broch, set on a low knoll and generally as described by RCAHMS except that the north segment is now severely denuded and the entrance passage is no longer visible although the chamber survives. In the north arc of the interior are traces of a dry-stone chamber, partly built into the broch wall. To the SW of the broch lies a circular rubble-walled enclosure, 7.2m in diameter with no visible entrance, whose period is uncertain.
Remains of a ditch, partly accompanied by an outer bank, curve round the broch on the north and west and are probably a contemporary defence, protecting the easier approach.
Visited by OS (J L D) 27 April 1960.

The broch is as described by previous OS investigator.
Surveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (I S S) 9 July 1971.

The broch and its outer defence are generally as described by previous OS investigators, the remains are obscured by tumble, and mutilated by stone robbing and the insertion of later structures. Visited by OS (J B) 10 July 1977.

Brochs are round, tower-like houses, their monumental size intended to display the wealth and status of the agricultural communities who lived in them. They were occupied in the later Iron Age and occur frequently in the north and west of Scotland. (41)
The broch is today severely denuded, surviving only as a large, flattened mound of stones, with slight traces of chambers built within the thickness of the original wall visible. It sits on a low knoll, which has been surrounded by a ditch and bank, where the approach to the broch was easiest. (51)
Achoillenaborgie lies on the very edge of a high river terrace, one of several brochs strung out at roughly equal distances along the fertile floodplain of Strathnaver. Its presence has resulted in the name of the adjacent farm: ‘field of the wood of the fort’. (46)
Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.
Gourlay, R., 1996. Sutherland. An Archaeological Guide. Edinburgh: Birlinn.
RCAHMS. 1911. Sutherland. Edinburgh: HMSO, 61, No. 183.
Information from SCRAN Project, March, 2000

The site of the broch was visited by Highland Archaeology Services in 2007 during a walkover survey in advance of a proposed windfarm development to the northeast. It was found to be much as prevously described. It lay outside the main development area but was adjacent to a potential point of access to the windfarm. <1>

NC/7139 5942
This probable broch in Farr, Sutherland, stands at about 15m OD on a slight knoll between the base of a hill and the river Naver, and about half a mile south of the road bridge over the Naver near Bettyhill (visited in 1963). The structure is now low and badly ruined, no doubt because of stone robbing by the builders of nearby settlements.
In 1910 the entrance was seen on the north and the walls of a possible mural chamber were exposed west of the passage and 2.44m (8ft) from it [2]. These features were no longer visible in 1960 but traces of a drystone chamber were then noted on the northern arc, partly built into the wall [1]. The side of a possible entry in to the broch wall from the interior was noted on the south sidein 1985 [3].
There are signs of outbuildings around the site [2] but Swanson doubts if these are contemporary with the broch [3]. There are also signs of an outer ditch with an outer rampart on the north-east [3, plan].
Dimensions: the interior diameter is about 8.54m (28ft) and the wall is about 4.27m (14ft) thick; the wall proportion would thus be 50%.
Sources: 1. NMRS site no. NC 75 NW 2: 2. RCAHMS 1911a, 61, no. 183: 3. Swanson (ms) 1985, 713-15 and plan. <2>

The Sheduling was amended by Historic Environment Scotland wih effect from 24/07/2023. <3>

Sources/Archives (12)



Grid reference Centred NC 7138 5941 (70m by 70m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC75NW
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish FARR

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Related Investigations/Events (1)

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