MHG12928 - Broch, Dun Dornaigil


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Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

(NC 4572 4501) Dun Dornaigil (NAT) (Broch) (NR)
OS 6" map, (1961)

Dun Dornaigil (OS 6"map, {1908}) Dornadilla (A Pope 1777) or Dornagail (A Young 1964) is the ruin of a broch standing generally to a height of 6ft to 11ft externally but to 22ft on the NE, which arc contains the debris-choked entrance with its massive triangular lintel. This section has been buttressed internally in modern times. The interior measures 27ft in diameter and the wall is 8ft thick where visible above the debris filling the courtyard. Only the two outer roof-lintels of the entrance are in situ, but the remains of a guard-chamber survive on the right. An entrance to a mural chamber, or possibly the stairway, is indicated by a large lintel in the internal wall, 24ft to the left of the entrance. Immediately opposite the entrance, a small opening has exposed the top of a chamber roofed with overlapping flags.
Cordiner mentions three galleries surviving within the wall in the 18th century, but, except on NE, the wall has been reduced to the level of floor of first gallery. In 1874, the name was collected as 'Dun Dhoirneghil', but was 'corrected' to 'Dun Donradilla' by Rev J M Joass, Golspie. The broch is still known locally as 'Dun Dornaigil' (Info from Dr C S Sandeman, Durness) , but 'Dornadilla' form of the name is of interest in that a 'Dornadille' appears in early king lists.
A Pope 1777; C Cordiner 1780; Name Book 1874; OS 6"map, Sutherland, 2nd ed., (1908); Visited by OS (A C) 3 June 1959; A Young 1964.

Dun Dornaigil, a broch as described by the previous authorities.
Revised at 1:10,000. Visited by OS (N K B) 9 November 1978.

NW SUT Local Plan, May 1987: P23/2.36.
J Aitken : 11/06/01.

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>

As part of a research project into broch architecture and the Knowledge Transfer Project (a collaborative research project between AOC Archaeology Group and the University of Nottingham) a laser scan survey of Dun Dornadilla broch was undertaken in October 2007. Five scan positions were taken to produce a pointcloud with a net resolution of approximately 10mm. <2>

Cait McCullagh submitted photographs of the broch via the Highland HER Facebook page. <3>

Nicki MacRae submitted photos via the Highland HER Flickr group in May 2011. <4>

Sources/Archives (19)



Grid reference Centred NC 4571 4501 (70m by 70m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC44NE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish DURNESS

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Related Investigations/Events (1)

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