MHG5147 - Dun Borve, Skye


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Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

NG44NE 2 4591 4772.

NG 4591 4771 Dun Borve (NR)
OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1904)

Dun Borve, Snizort, NG44NE0002

Brochs are round, tower-like houses, their monumental size intended to display the wealth and status of the agricultural communities who lived in them. They were occupied in the later Iron Age and are common in the north and west of Scotland. (41).
Dun Borve sits on a rocky knoll, projecting from the steep slope of Bein Borve and overlooking the strath, which links Portree on the east side of Skye with Loch Snizort on the north-west coast. This strategic position is characteristic of many brochs. (43)
The broch survives as a large, circular mound of grass-covered stones, just outside the limits of present day cultivation. However, in the past, Dun Borve clearly sat at the heart of an extensive agricultural landscape, since at least six grass covered field walls radiate out from the broch. (48)
Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.
RCAHMS. 1928. The Outer Hebrides, Skye and the Small Isles. Edinburgh: HMSO, 196-7, No. 620.
Information from SCRAN Project, March, 2000

Dun Borve. Situated on a rocky eminence at 500ft OD, is a plateau measuring about 50 yards NE-SW and 30 yards transversely. It has been surrounded by a stone wall now almost gone except on the N quadrant, where the outer face is still traceable, one portion showing a building face 3ft high. There have been two entrances through this outer defence, from the W and from the NE, both about 3ft 6ins wide. On the highest part of the plateau a large heap of stones, about 70ft in diameter and 10ft high is all that is left of a circular building. A short section of he outer face showing little more than one course of good drystone building is seen to the N and a greater length around the E arc.
From these the external diameter of the structure is seen to be 57ft. No trace of the entrance or the inner face of the wall can be seen. From the dimensions ascertained, the sinking of the heart of the wall suggesting a gallery, and the large mass of building material, there is considerable justification for believing that this may have been a broch.
Listed as an uncertain broch.
RCAHMS 1928; A Graham 1949.

Dun Borve, correctly described above, except that there are traces of a wall running from the N side of the W entrance towards the central structures and from the NE entrance there is a terrace along the side of the knoll leading round towards the west end. There are remains ofa wall along its outer edge in the form of a line of large stones.
A stretch of internal facing stones is now visible in the SE quadrant of the circular building giving a width for the walling of 3.8m. This, together with the overall dimensions, circular plan and outworks which are similar to known brochs in the area, enders near positive identification of this feature as a broch.
Visited by OS (A S P) 28 April 1961.

NG/4591 4772
Probable broch in Snizort. Skye, standing on a flat-topped rocky knoll about 153m (500 ft) above sea level. It consists of a large heap of stones, apparently mainly undisturbed [4], about 21m (70 ft) across and 3.05m (10 ft) high. The broch may stand up to 2m high below the rubble [4]. Two sections of the outer wallface on the south side suggest that the building had an overall diameter of 17.4m (57 ft); a short length of the inner wall is also visible, indicating a thickness of 3.8m (or 3.7-4.1m [4]) and an internal diameter of 11.6m or 10.0m [4, plan]. The position of the entrance is not apparent.
An outer stone wall runs round the edge of the knoll and has two entrances, both 1.07m (3 ft 6 in) wide on the north- west and north-north-east. A second wall can be traced outside the first on the north side, about 5m further out, and beyond this is a rock-cut ditch with an external rampart which were not noted before 1985 [4, plan]. There are faint traces of walling on the west side, between the broch and the outer wall.
Sources: 1. NMRS site no. NG 44 NE 2: 2. RCAHMS 1928, 196-97, no 620: 3. MacSween 1984-85, 44, no. 21 and fig. 21: 4. Swanson (ms) 1985, 828-30 and plan. <1>

This site was included in the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland online database. See link below for site entry. <2>

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NG 4590 4772 (70m by 70m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG44NE
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish SNIZORT

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