MHG40904 - Burial - Clachtoll Broch, An Dun


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Type and Period (1)

  • BURIAL (Undated)

Protected Status

Full Description

According to Andy Summers (Ranger) human remains were found between the broch & the beach c10 years ago and reported to Bob Gourlay, who removed a possible humerus for identification - no written report yet found within the SMR
HAW 11/2003

An Dun, Clachtoll

Report 18 - Restoration & Excavation, Joffy Hill, April 2001.
J Aitken : 31/01/03

Clachtoll broch perches precariously on very edge of the sea; in spite of the fact that part of the walls have tumbled over the edge of the cliff, it is still an impressive structure. Its exposed position is also deceptive, as it is surrounded by good agricultural land. (49)

The original entrance is still visible, dominated by the huge triangular slab above it. While this was also an effective way of spreading the load of the walls above the doorway, it also served as a dramatic focus for people approaching the site. (43)

Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.
Close-Brooks, J., 1995. Exploring Scotland’s Heritage. The Highlands. Edinburgh: HMSO, 145-6, No. 87.
Gourlay, R., 1996. Sutherland. An Archaeological Guide, 74-5.
RCAHMS. 1911. Sutherland. Edinburgh: HMSO, 2-3, No. 7.
Information from SCRAN Project, March, 2000

(NC 0366 2784) An Dun (NAT) Broch (NR) OS 6"map, (1971)

At Clachtoll, on edge of flat ledges of rock that fringe shore, is a broch and outworks. Broch is in a fairly good state of preservation except towards sea where it has been for a short distance almost demolished. The interior is full of debris and greatest height of wall showing above it is c. 3'. On outside top of wall is 6' - 7' high but interior face is 3' - 4' above that. It was not possible to measure the thickness of wall at base but at its highest level it is 12' thick. The interior diameter of broch is 32'. The entrance, in E, is 3' wide and now about 3'6" high with two guard chambers, one on either side of entrance passage. In interior, directly opposite entrance, top of the stairway is visible. A steatite cup was found many years ago in a recess of wall of right hand guard chamber by the Rev J M Joass of Golspie, in whose possession it still is. (See NC02NW 4 for a steatite cup, found near broch - possibly same cup?)
About 100 yds from broch are the much ruined remains of a massive outer wall crossing uncultivated land to E: land to S being all cultivated, outworks in that diection have been demolished. 40' from broch is another wall built of great stones, 2' - 3' in height and some 6' thick, which leads from either side of entrance and was evidently carried round to out flank the building. On S the details are still evident. At turning it enclosed a mound of stone and earth c8' across faced with building on inner side. Distance between the stone uprights of the gateway through the wall is 6'.
RCAHMS 1911.

Listed as a broch. A Graham 1949.

The broch is defended by outwork built of very large blocks and boulders, but another ruined wall lying some 100 yds away is most probably a land boundary of later date. R W Feachem 1963.

This broch measures 16.1m in overall diameter. The internal diamter can only be measured above rubble which fills interior to above scarcement level. Here it is 9.7m, and wall varies between 3.1m and 3.4m in width, but at ground level at entrance wall is 4.2m thick, suggesting internal diameter of c8m. The entrance passage is accessible and shows 2 upright slabs for door jambs 1.7m along it. Behind them are bar holes and entrances to two guard chambers each 3.7m long. There is an opening into broch interior from rear of N guard chamber. There is what may be a later forework immediately in front of broch entrance and traces of a probably secondary building, both of which are mainly masked by debris. The entrance passage through outwork shows 2 upright blocks, probably jambs about 4m along it, there are suggestions that a passage or corridor led on from them towards broch entrance, but debris prevents a true assessment of this. The alleged outwork 100 yds distant is a combination of outcrop and cleared stones.
Published surv (1:10,000) revised. Visited by OS (GHP) 11 May 196 and (A A) 5 August 1974.

No change. Visited by OS (J B) 14 August 1980.

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

Restoration and Excavation work was carried out in April 2001 by Joffy Hill (HS). This involved work on the entrance area which is now a little safer, the side passages remain untouched.
J Aitken : 11/06/01.

Sources/Archives (28)



Grid reference Centred NC 0365 2784 (6m by 6m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC02NW
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish ASSYNT

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