MHG2018 - Broch, Kilmster


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

ND35NW 3 3234 5655.
Brough (NR) OS 6" map, Caithness, 2nd ed., (1907)

Broch (NR) (site of) OS 1:10,000 map, (1974)

In 1940 this broch was destroyed to allow construction of an aerodrome. Prior to this it had appeared as a grass- covered knoll about 150ft diameter and 9ft high. It had been partially excavated 1904 by Sir Francis Tress Barry, when only W half of tower was exposed. A second excavation was carried out by Calder in 1940, immediately preceding destruction.
The broch had consisted of a round tower, encirled by a strong defensive rampart, with a wide, shallow ditch outside. Originally circular in shape, tower had been built with walls some 15ft thick and average external diameter of 62ft 6ins. The entrance had been on W with a guard chamber built into thickness of wall off S side of passage. From inner wall face 13 compartments were arranged radially around inside of tower, the divisions consisting of thin stone slabs set on edge. Structurally it would appear that these compartments were later than broch and possibly early improvements.
Sherds of some 20 vessels were discovered, some of them resembling pottery from lower levels at Traprain Law. In 1904 a bone needle was also found on this site. Other relics found during 1940 excavation include a saddle quern, several grain rubbers, dishes, knocking stones, pivot stones, anvils, tether stones, pot lids, pounders and smoothing stones, a pestle and a whorl. Also parts of circular querns of post-Roman date. Fragments of human remains found indicated an individual of rather small stature.
Finds from 1904 excavation in NMAS include a bone needle (HD 431), a bone borer (HD 432), a pot (GA 908) and possibly two whorls, one of sandstone and one of steatite, donated to NMAS in 1908.
Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1909; RCAHMS 1911; C S T Calder 1950.

There are no remains of the broch to be seen.
Revised at 1:2500. Visited by OS (R D L) 22 April 1963.

There is no trace of this broch. Visited by OS (J M) 14 July 1982.

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> <2>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred ND 3234 5654 (70m by 70m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet ND35NW
Civil Parish CANISBAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (14)

  • SADDLE QUERN (Undated)
  • GRAIN RUBBER (Undated)
  • DISH (Undated)
  • POUNDER (Undated)
  • PESTLE (Undated)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Undated)
  • BORER (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • LID (Undated)
  • ANVIL (Undated)
  • NEEDLE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Undated)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Undated)
  • SHERD (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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