MHG7808 - Broch - Dun an Ruigh Ruadh


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

  • BROCH (Early Iron Age to Medieval - 550 BC to 1559 AD)
  • (Alternate Type) DUN (Early Iron Age to Medieval - 550 BC to 1559 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Dun an Ruigh Ruadh (NAT). Broch (NR) (rems of)
OS 6"map, (1968)

Dun an Ruigh Ruadh or Rhiroy, NH19SW0006A

Rhiroy sits in a dramatic position on the edge of a steep bluff, overlooking Loch Broom. In local tradition, stone for the broch was brought from other side of the loch, “by men stationed at regular intervals upon rafts”. Unfortunately, outcrops of similar stone are found on both side of the loch and this is unlikely to be true. (61)
Excavations demonstrated that there had been a central hearth in the interior, surrounded by a number of wooden posts supporting an upper floor. Among the finds were a rotary quern for grinding corn, a pot-lid, hammerstones, as well as a silver ring, all of which attest to the domestic occupation of the broch. (53)
Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.
Close-Brooks, J., 1995. Exploring Scotland’s Heritage. The Highlands. Edinburgh: HMSO, 145, No. 86.
Info from SCRAN Project, March, 2000

Dun an Ruigh Ruadh: The remains of a galleried dun according to MacKie, but a broch according to other authorities, of which roughly a third of NE arc has fallen over rocky bluff on which it stands, but the remainder still stands to a maximum height of 9'6" over accumulated debris of about 4'. It measures c. 38' in diameter internally with walls c. 14' thick.
Excavations by MacKie in 1968 revealed a flattened circle on plan, the straighter side of which runs along edge of bluff. Here, wall is thinner and less well built, lacking intra-mural gallery visible elsewhere. The stairway to first-floor level and part of stair to an even higher level are discernible. The doorway in E is checked. A scarcement is visible 4.5' - 5' above ground level. Within central court are post-holes indicating a raised wooden structure resting on scarcement and posts, which was later pulled down, and dun used as an ordinary dwelling. The post-holes were filled in, cobbles laid on top of them, and a stone tank was sunk into interior. Finds include several rotary querns, a stone pot lid, a jet counter, hammer stones, and a silver finger ring.
MacKie 1968b, 1969d, f; R W Feachem 1963; Calder and Steer 1951

Dun an Ruigh Ruadh, a galleried dun as described by MacKie.
Surveyed at 1:2500 Visited by OS (N K B) 25 September 1970

Surveyed at 1:10560 Visited by OS (N K B) 1 May 1968

(NH 1494 9009) The site is an IA stone fortlet, of semibroch type and probably a prototype broch; it is only second of its class to be excavated. Radiocarbon dates show that it was built in 3rd or 2nd centuries b.c. and this early date is supported also by artefacts. The mainly aceramic material culture shows strong links with southern Scotland but fort itself is Hebridean, as are three early potsherds found. The wall has an upper and lower intra-mural gallery and seems originally to have contained a roofed round-house with an oval of wooden posts and a central hearth. Later wall was partly demolished and IA occupation continued for a while. After a period of abandonment there was some Medieval use of wall gallery and sheep dippers worked in ruined fort in recent times.
Finds from the site are listed in the appendices.
E W MacKie, GAJ vol.7, 1980 <1>

Field sketch of dun - see Assoc. Docs. File.

J Aitken : 18/12/00.

Thumbnail photo of Dun an Ruigh Ruadh
Wester Ross Project - Cathy Dagg, 02/04

The site was visited and photographed by Andrew Puls of the Highland Council on the 24th of April 2008. <2>

AOC Archaeology were commissoned by the Forestry Commission Scotland to survey the broch in 2015. Although not on the National Forest Estate, it was selected in order to advance the methodology of survey and visualisation and to provide images for a national archaeology strategy document. Work included topographic survey and high resolution photography and laser scanning of the whole structure to allow for the production of 3D imagery. <3>

The finds from the 1968-78 investigations by Glasgow University are in the Hunterian Museum and listed on their online catalogue. These included hammer stones, rotary querns, spindle whorls, pot sherds, a jet armlet fragment, a jet counter, a siver finger ring, flint flakes and scrapers and stone discs. See link below. <4>

Sources/Archives (21)



Grid reference Centred NH 1493 9008 (70m by 70m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH19SW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish LOCHBROOM

Finds (12)

  • FINGER RING (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • ROTARY QUERN (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • ARMLET (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • DISC (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • SHERD (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • FLAKE (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • DOOR FITTING (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • LID (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • COUNTER (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (3)

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