MHG39852 - Human Remains, Hoy Pool

Summary

Human remains found in Iron Age broch.

Type and Period (1)

  • HUMAN REMAINS (Undated)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Hoy Pool broch is striking, if only because the grass-covered mound survives to over 5m in height, despite the fact that it lies in the centre of a farmyard. The broch lies in the bottom of a fertile strath, close to a ford across the Thurso water. Although it is low-lying, it has extensive views up and down the strath.

When a description of this broch was written in 1911, a human skeleton was protruding from the broch. Earlier, in the nineteenth century, the finding of more bones, along with ‘diamonds and other precious stones’, was noted. There is also a local tradition that anyone trying to remove the broch would suffer misfortune.

Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.
RCAHMS. 1911. Caithness. Edinburgh: HMSO, 120, No. 435.
Information from SCRAN Project, March, 2000

'Broch', Farm of Hoy. Dimensions: 25 x 24m. Grass-covered mound 5.5m high, quarried round almost the entire circumference, set within the courtyard of a modern mains farm. A retaining wall has been built on it's E side to protect the adjoining barn from tumble.
R J Mercer, NMRS MS/828/19, 1995

As described. Visited by OS (NKB) 15 2 1982

This broch now appears as a large, grass-covered stony mound, 5.4m high and 24m diameter, in which an outer wall face, 1.8m high and 2m in length, is visible on NE side where it joins on to a modern retaining wall. Further portions of broch walling have been exposed on SW slopes.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (NKB) 11 11 1965.

The close proximity of farmhouse has necessitated the demolition of the broch on one side, and elsewhere the facing stones have been in a large measure removed. The diameter of the remaining mound is about 45ft and its elevation 13-14ft. The wall has been 15ft thick. In 1910, remains of a human skeleton protruded from S edge of top of mound. It had been laid extended from E-W.
ONB (1871) notes that, about 1816, 'some human bones, and ornaments comprising diamonds and other precious stones were excavated from the mound, as well as some horns and bones of beasts'.
Name Book 1871; RCAHMS 1911.

ND16SW 6 1416 6062.
Broch (NR) OS 6" map, Caithness, 2nd ed., (1907)


Name Book (County), Object Name Books of the Ordnance Survey, Book No. 11, 215 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG3341.


Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s)/Aerial Photograph). SHG3766.


Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s)/Aerial Photograph). SHG3767.


RCAHMS, 1911, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Third report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Caithness, 120, No. 435 (Text/Report). SHG2664.

Sources/Archives (4)

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred ND 1416 6061 (6m by 6m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet ND16SW
Civil Parish THURSO
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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