MHG722 - Broch - Achvarasdal House


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

Achvarasdal House, NC96SE0005

NC96SE 5 9834 6469.
Brough (NR) Human Remains and Querns found (NAT)
OS 6"map, Caithness, 2nd ed., (1907)

Bones, two or three human skulls and several knocking stones were found about 1870 in the interior.
Name Book 1873.

This broch, with its entrance-passage in ESE, has been excavated without exposing the exterior wall. The interior is 33ft in diameter with walls 13ft thick and 5ft 3ins high. From the inner end of passage, to right, at 19.5ft, measured direct, is a partly reconstructed stair chamber. There is evidence of a guard chamber in passage. There are indications of considerable but unexcavated outbuildings. A rotary quern and a large bottomless mortar lie in the interior of the broch. Two narrow rectangular sharpening stones are preserved at Achvarasdal Lodge.
RCAHMS 1911.

The broch was Scheduled in 1938.

Set in a large grassy mound are remains of a broch with the interior wall standing 1.7m high. Measuring 10m across the internal diameter, it has a chamber in NE segment and an entrance 0.9m wide in SE, where the width of the broch wall can be seen as 4.1m. No outer works could be traced. A fragment of a small quern stone still lies beside and the flag staff in the centre. The two sharpening stones formerly at Achvarasdal Lodge have been lost.
Revised at 1:2500. Visited by OS (R D) 13 November 1964.

A solid-based broch with a checked entrance in the ESE, with signs of a blocked-up guard-cell door behind the right check. There is an interior door, probably to the mural stair in the E, and there are also traces of out-buildings. A rotary quern which lay inside the broch is now in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.
E W MacKie 1974; 1975.

(NC 9834 6469) Broch (NR) OS 6"map, (1963)

A broch, as described by the previous authorities. No outbuilding remains can be identified in the dense scrub and grass prevailing around the site.
Visited by OS (J M) 19 August 1981.

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 occur frequently in north and west of Scotland. (41)
The interior of Achvarasdal and its entrance passage have been excavated, leaving the exterior wall face and a number of associated buildings still buried within the large grassy mound which once covered the entire broch. This work revealed a possible guard chamber, a stair within the thickness of the wall and ‘two or three human skulls’. (56)
The rest of the finds from Achvarasdal suggest the domestic activities of the occupants. They include two hone stones for sharpening metal tools, a rotary quern for grinding grain, a large mortar and several ‘knocking stones’, perhaps a primitive means of separating the grain from the straw. (47)
Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.
RCAHMS. 1911. Caithness. Edinburgh: HMSO, 95, No. 353.
Information from SCRAN Project, March, 2000

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>

The broch was re-scheduled by Historic Environment Scotland in 2016 to better reflect its position and area of interest/importance. <2> <3>

The GIS spatial data was amended in 2017 to its position as shown on OS MasterMap. <4>

Sources/Archives (18)



Grid reference Centred NC 9834 6468 (70m by 70m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC96SE
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (2)

  • HUMAN REMAINS (Undated)
  • ROTARY QUERN (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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