MHG1716 - Broch, Duncansby Head


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

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

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

'On top of Duncansbay Head, and about fifty yards from precipice, may be traced site of a circular building of about 25 feet diameter, which is supposed to have been a watch-tower, and to have communicated with a similar one on top of Warth Hill.' (ND36NE 13: structure).
NSA 1845 (P Jolly)

'On Duncansbay Head stood ancient fort of Dungulsbae, a very early, if not earliest stronghold of the Earls of Orkney and Katanes, and apparently one of those circular edifices known as Picts' houses. It was generally held by a prefect or captain under the earl. Remains or vestiges of the building existed in 1793 (OSA) and appear to be still extant (NSA).
Orig Paroch Scot 1855

Many years ago there was a telegraph beacon on the green oval summit of Duncansbay Head, but nothing remains of it.
Name Book 1873

An apparently circular feature visible at ND 4054 7326 on APs may be that referred to above.
Visible on RAF APs (CPE/Scot/UK 185: 1351-2, flown 1946).

There is no evidence of antiquity of the summit of Duncansby Head. The summit area is occupied by a radio mast.
Visited by OS (JB) 10 May 1982

ND47 2 DUNCANSBY HEAD ND/4054 7326
Possible broch in Canisbay, Caithness, situated on the top of the Head. Though nothing can be seen now [1] late 18th [2] and 19th century accounts [3] describe the remains of a circular building about 7.63m (25ft) in diameter and 'apparently one of those circular edifices known as Picts' Houses." [1].
Sources: 1. NMRS site no. ND 47 SW 1: 2. Old Statistical Account (1771-79): 3. New Statistical Account (1845), vol. 15 (Caithness), 25. <1>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred ND 4054 7325 (70m by 70m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND47SW
Civil Parish CANISBAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

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External Links (1)

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