MHG1146 - Broch, Minera


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Type and Period (1)

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

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Full Description

Minera, Newlands of Houstry, ND13SE0019

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)
Minera is a classic example of a Caithness broch – a large, grass covered, stony mound, lying close to later crofting remains. It is surrounded by an enclosure wall and has been robbed for stone, probably to build these later buildings and walls. (42)
The mound rises as three well defined tiers. The inner tier represents the broch tower. A depression running towards its centre, with a massive, lintel-like slab visible at its outer end, is probably the entrance passage. Around this, the next tier seems to consist of tumble from the tower. The lowest part of the mound could then be associated outbuildings. (60)
Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.
RCAHMS. 1911. Caithness. Edinburgh: HMSO, 52-3, No. 197.
Information from SCRAN Project, March, 2000

ND13SE 19 1558 3461.
Broch (NR) (remains of) OS 1:10,000 map, (1979)

Close by the croft of Minera is a grass-covered mound from which many large stones protrude showing the ruins of a broch. The wall-face at base, formed of large stones, is exposed in places, indicating a diameter over all of 70ft. The present elevation is 11 or 12ft. There has been a little excavation of the mound on the W at some remote period.
RCAHMS 1911.

The remains of a broch, as described by the RCAHMS.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (N K B) 25 March 1968.

The remains of this broch are mainly visible as a turf-covered, stony mound approx 24m diameter and something over 3m high. Near foot of mound in NW outer face of broch shows to three courses; a broken depression running to the centre of the mound from the W, and with a massive, lintel-like slab protruding at its outer end probably marks the line of the entrance passage.
The broch mound rises from a lower mound obscuring the remains of outbuildings; on the S side is a curving arc of stones which represents the outer face of a wall containing the outbuildings. The whole site is surrounded by an early-modern wall.
Visited by OS (J M) 19 October 1982.

This broch, which lies within a relatively recent stone-walled enclosure immediately to S of the farmstead of Minera (ND13SE 110.00), has been reduced to little more than a large grass-grown mound of rubble. The mound has been extensively dug into for stone, and measures 24m from NW-SE by 18m overall, its W side rising in three well-defined tiers. The visible portion of the broch forms the uppermost tier of the mound, with an overall diameter of about 10m. A short run of the outer face on the NNW is visible to three courses, and a large slab on the W, if really a lintel, may mark the position of the entrance. The tier below it, presumably largely made up of rubble from the broch, is about 15m across, and an arc of what appears to be the outer facing of a wall protrudes from it on the S. Around the skirts of the mound on the W and SW several angular features can be distinguished, presumably elements of buildings associated with either the occupation of the broch or a later settlement on the same site.
Visited by RCAHMS (DE, IP) August 1997

ND13 9 MINERA ND/1558 3461
Probable broch in Latheron, Caith-ness, consisting of a grass-covered mound 3.36-3.66m (11-12ft) high with many stones projecting from it. The base of the curved outer wallface is visible in places, suggesting an overall diameter of 21.4m (70ft). The height of the mound suggests that the inner wallface could survive to a height of 4-5m [3]. A broken depression running into the mound from the west may mark the position of the entrance passage, and a massive stone slab may be a lintel [1]. On the north the base of the surrounding modern wall shows earlier massive foundations [3]. 'The remains of the Minera complex must rank as one of the best preserved broch mounds in Caithness, containing substantial structural remains and a largely untouched strati-graphy” [3].
Sources: 1. NMRS site no. ND 13 SE 19: 2. RCAHMS 1911b, 52-3, no. 197: 3. Swanson (ms) 1985, 687-89 and plan. <1>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred ND 1558 3461 (70m by 70m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND13SE
Civil Parish LATHERON
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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