MHG12433 - Broch, Lochan Druim an Duin


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Type and Period (1)

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

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Full Description

Lochan Druim an Duin or Baile Mhargaite, Invernaver, NC66SE0002

Brochs are round, tower-like houses, their monumental size intended to display wealth and status of 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)
This well-preserved broch sits in a wonderful position high above the mouth of the River Naver. The very steep and sandy climb to the broch makes it appear all but inaccessible, particularly as it is almost indistinguishable from the surrounding hillside until you are right on top of it., the broch stands out prominently, as it must have done when in use. (70)
From the broch, a number of hut circles and small fields, burial cairns and cists can be seen laid out on the dunes below, giving a vivid impression of the broch as part of an extensive and densely occupied landscape. Even if all these sites were not all occupied at one time, it is indicative of the very organised nature of life in the Iron Age. (66)
Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.
Gourlay, R., 1996. Sutherland. An Archaeological Guide. Edinburgh: Birlinn.
RCAHMS. 1911. Sutherland. Edinburgh: HMSO, 61, No. 184.
Information from SCRAN Project, March 2000.

(NC 6973 6097) Broch (NR) OS 1:10,000 map, (1964)

The Sandy Dun (Horsburgh 1870) a broch high up on a cliff edge, consists of a tumbled mass of stones. The interior is filled with rubble and sand, but inner face, a few feet in height with a 10 inch wide scarcement of thin slabs, is visible for complete circuit; the outer face protrudes through tumble on S and NE sides, indicating an internal diameter of about 8.5m and a wall thickness of 4m. The entrance passage in SW has collapsed and is covered by rubble. A small annexe 8.0m by 5.0m abuts the broch on the west, and further west is a wide natural ditch which serves as a defence.
J Horsburgh 1870; RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909; Visited by OS (J L D) 26 April 1960.

The broch, protected on 3 sides by steep rocky slopes and approached from west across a low saddle, is generally as described by previous authorities. In recent years a crude wall has been built around top of the inner face. The position of entrance is uncertain, but most likely situation is in west arc at the easiest means of approach, where one possible lintel slab is partially exposed in the tumble. This W side is further defended by remains of an outer wall, which probably extended to connect with natural slopes of NW and SW of broch, utilising in its course natural rock outcrops, but severe denudation and overburden of stone fallen from the broch renders its extent uncertain. A short stretch of an outer base course is evident towards the N end adjacent to a gap corresponding to the assumed broch entrance. Outside of this there are traces of a possible wall fringing the access way, but recent reconstruction confuses the nature of the remains. The name 'Sandy Dun' cannot be verified.
Revised at 1:10,000. Visited by OS (N K B) 27 September 1978.

This site was included in Mackie's 2007 'The Roundhouses, Brochs and Wheelhouses of Atlantic Scotland c.700 BC - AD 500: Architecture and material culture'. See link below to HES Canmore record which includes the chapter on this site. <1>

The site was visited and photographed by R Spencer-Jones on 15/10/2014. The “broch” is much as described by previous reporters. However, careful analysis of the previous photos suggests that the walls are not what they were. The stones beneath the obvious scarcement on the southern wall in particular seem scarcer than they did. On the north and east, the remaining wall is approx 1.5 metres thick, 2 metres thick in the west, where the entrance is still obvious though slightly infilled in NW aspect. This wall is solid, and doesn’t appear to have any internal spaces. This suggests it should more appropriately be called a dun, than a broch. <2>

Sources/Archives (8)



Grid reference Centred NC 6972 6096 (70m by 70m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC66SE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish FARR

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