MHG12872 - Broch, Dun Mhaigh


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Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

(NC55235303) Dun Mhaigh (NAT) Broch (NR) OS 6" map (1961)

The remains of a broch, Dun na Maigh, strongly situated on a prominent rock rising from the ridge. The rock face is precipitous on the W and abrupt on the E, but from the N and S the approaches are easier and have been defended by walls enclosing the level areas adjoining the broch. There is a chasm on the W face of the rock, the upper part of which is built up. The broch itself is not circular, the W side set back several feet from the edge being considerably flattened and appearing to have been reconstructed. It measures about 31ft N-S by 27ft E-W within a wall 16ft thick which stands 8ft in maximum height. The entrance passage in E is checked and has three or four roofing slabs in situ. There is no sign of a guard chamber. In NW arc is a mural chamber 8ft long, roofed with flags, and entered beneath a lintel about 3ft long. Immediately to the E is another chamber 5ft long and 3ft wide, built up at the end and filled with stones.
RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909 <1>

Although mainly a tumbled mass of stones, this broch is well-preserved on S, where both inner and outer wall-faces are definable, the latter being about 2m high. A small guard-chamber is visible on N side of entrance, but the other chambers have collapsed. The wall to S of the broch, is of rubble, 0.3m high, and appears to have formed an annexe or courtyard rather than a defence. There are traces of a similar enclosure to the N.
Visited by OS (JLD) 22 April 1960

Dun Mhaigh, a broch, is generally as described. The entrance passage is double checked with the guard chamber visible between the checks. In the wall core in NW quarter is visible a flight of eight steps and, at or near ground level, the remains of a mural chamber opening onto the steps. There are fragments of a scarcement ledge, 0.3m wide, on S side of the broch. The alleged annexes or enclosures are probably the remains of a single defensive wall fronting the N, E and S approaches to broch, and terminating at both ends on the steep rock face on the W side.
Revised at 1:10,000. Visited by OS (JM) 11 October 1978

Dun Mhaigh, Dun na Maigh or Dun Haigh, Kyle of Tongue, NC55SE0001

Brochs were the defended homesteads of local chieftains in the Later Iron Age and are common in the northern and western Highlands. Its position on a prominent rocky outcrop at the head of the Kyle of Tongue makes Dun Mhaigh one of the most spectacular examples. (46)
On W side the rock outcrop on which the broch sits is precipitous. On other sides, where the ground slopes away more gently, the remains of an outer defensive wall can be seen. Further reinforcing the defensive nature of the site, the entrance passage has evidence for door checks for two wooden doors, with a guard chamber between them. (61)
Unusually for a broch, Dun Mhaigh is D-shaped, rather than perfectly circular. This is not so much to do with the shape of the rock on which it sits, but because it has been rebuilt in modern times. (38)
Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.
Close-Brooks, J., 1995. Exploring Scotland’s Heritage. The Highlands. Edinburgh: HMSO, 146-7, No. 88.
Gourlay, R., 1996. Sutherland. An Archaeological Guide. Edinburgh: Birlinn, pg. 74.
RCAHMS. 1911. Sutherland. Edinburgh: HMSO, 183-4, No. 527.
Information from SCRAN Project, March 2000.

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. <2>

The site is included in the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland online database. See link below for site entry. <3>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NC 5523 5303 (70m by 70m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC55SE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND

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