MHG61836 - Hut circle - Allt Torigil, Broubster


A hut circle at Allt Torigil, Broubster.

Type and Period (1)

  • HUT CIRCLE (Neolithic to Late Iron Age - 4000 BC? to 560 AD?)

Protected Status

Full Description

A hut circle at Allt Torigil, Broubster. Recorded originally by the OS as hut circle 'P'.

(ND 033 595) Cairns (NR) (ND 031 592) Cairns (NR) Hut Circles (NR) (ND 033 589) Hut Circles & Enclosures (NR)
OS 6"map, (1963)

In area centred ND 032 592 there are the remains of thirteen hut circles or enclosures, twenty-five cairns, a burnt mound (see ND05NW 24), and the footings of four rectangular buildings (see ND05NW (M) 11). Visited by OS (R D) 9 November 1964.

This complex group of 11 hut circles form two groups. The northern group centred on ND 032 593 comprises 5 huts; ‘J’ : ND 0314 3930; ‘K’ :ND 0318 5931; ‘M’ : ND 0319 5929. Four circular ranging in diameter 8.5m-4.0m; and one oval 7.5m x 6.5m. All are bounded by turf or heather covered walls, spread approx. 2.0m and 0.4m high, each with a simple entrance in the SE. The southern group centred on ND 032 589 comprises 6 widely scattered circular or slightly oval huts, ranging in internal diameters 13.5m-6.5m. (P, Q, R, T, W, Y).

‘Q’ :ND 0318 5899; ‘P’ :ND 03305907; ‘W’ :ND 0343 5893 – scooped deeply into a dry rise – all well-defined walls spread to around 3.0m & walls 0.7m high, with entrances in SE. ‘T’ :ND 0315 5888, published, ill-defined & obscured by bracken; details of it are unobtainable. ‘Y’ :ND 0353 5897, the only feature noted was an amorphous footing 3.0m across. ‘R’ :ND 0317 5896; ‘S’ :ND 0314 5892 circular feature; ‘X’ :ND0343 5895 Shieling; ‘N’ :ND 0329 5911. Hut circle (?).
(OSFI: JB: 23.7.1981)

This complex group of hut circles and cairns is situated on a gently sloping, undulating hillside. The hut circles, of which there are eleven, form two groups, one centred on ND 032 593 and the other on ND 032 589. The norther group of five huts, four circular and one oval, range in internal diameter from 4-8.5m; the oval hut is 7.5 by 6.5m. All are bounded by turf or heather-covered walls, spread to approximately 2m and 0.4m high, each with a simple entrance in SE. The southern group of six huts is more widely scattered. Their internal sizes range from 6.5 to 13.5m in diameter; all are circular or slightly oval. Three, at ND 0318 5899, ND 0330 5907 and ND 0343 5893, are well-defined examples, the latter scooped deeply into a dry rise. Their walls are spread to around 3m and 0.7m high. Their entrances are in SE The published circle at ND 0315 5888 is ill-defined and obscured by bracken; details of it are unobtainable. At ND 0353 5897, the only feature noted was an amorphous footing 3m across. No clear pattern of cultivation is evident in the vicinity of the huts; isolated clearance heaps occur on dry rises in the area.

There are nine burial cairns centred on ND 032 594, the majority exhibiting the remains of a kerb and/or cist (cists are exposed at ND 0326 5952 and ND 0332 5948). With one exception they are on average 7m in diameter, turf or heather-covered and 0.6m high. The exceptional cairn, prominently positioned at ND 0330 5945, is partly of bare stone, 15.0m in diameter and 1.5m high. One kerbstone survives in the E, but no cist or chamber is apparent. There is the suggestion of a shallow ditch 2.0m wide around the NE half. In the vicinity are two probable cairns similar to the smaller cairns, and four further examples adjacent to the hut circles at ND 031 592. The latter vary in size from 5.0 to 7.0m in diameter and stand 0.7m high. Except for one with a protruding possible capstone they lack any diagnostic features, yet their general appearance strongly resembles the burial cairns described above. Approximately four turf and heather-covered mounds at ND 033 592 are also similar to the cairns, but whether they are funerary or simply clearance heaps cannot be judged from ground inspection. Occasional smaller and less regular mounds occur over the whole area; they are assumed to be either field clearance or natural, although the possibility that some may contain burials cannot be ignored. The stony mounds and walling centred on ND 035 592 post-date the features described above.
Surveyed at 1:10560.
Revised at 1:10,000.
Visited by OS (J B) 23 July 1981.
ND05NW 14 032 592

The hut circle was recorded by R J Mercer and students of Edinburgh University during field survey in Caithness in the Spring of 1982. 284b: 'Hut circle'. Dimensions: 12m x 11m external, 6m x 5m internal. Height: 0.80m. Subcircular grass-covered earth and stone bank with a spread of 2m in the SW arc and 5m in the NE arc. Entrance 1m wide in the NW. Inner wall facing-slabs visible in the SW part. 140m NE of Mon. 283a and 20m S of (a). <1>

This hut circle was identified in LiDAR data gathered by AOC Archaeology in 2011 as part of the mitigation for the visual impact on the archaeological landscape associated with the proposed Baillie Hill windfarm, Caithness. Hut circle. Fragmentary ring bank or hut-circle, 13m in diameter. <2>

The site was visited and recorded by topographic survey in 2015 as part of the 'Hidden Bronze Age Landscape of Caithness Project' undertaken by AOC Archaeology Group and members of the Castletown Heritage Society with local volunteers. The project ran as a series of four week-long field schools training volunteers in techniques of field survey, systematic soil sampling and targeted excavation. Fieldwork in week one of the field school (22-27/06/2015) focussed on using LiDAR data in the field, use of GPS to create simple maps of archaeological sites and ground-truthing sites through LiDAR. In week two (13-18/07/2015) participants learned how to create accurate plans using manual taped offset and plane table survey and total station and GPS surveys. Site 31: A penannular shaped hut circle measuring 10m diameter, 1.5m wide but spreads up to 2.5m in places and survives up to 0.7m high. An entrance can be seen on the SE side and measures 3m wide. The site lies 20m S of Site 30. <3>

Roundhouses from the southern part of the settlement were Scheduled by Historic Environment Scotland on 04/05/2016. <3>

See also NMRS record ND05NW 48 for the Field Clearance Cairns

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred ND 0330 5908 (16m by 16m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND05NW
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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