MHG9777 - Cinn Trolla or Kintradwell Broch


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • BROCH (Early Iron Age to Early Medieval - 550 BC to 1057 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Notes and 3 photos sent in by M & M McGuire of Derby for Highland Archaeology Challenge September 2003. See Assoc. Docs file.

JW 27.10.03

Cinn Trolla or Kintradwell, NC90NW0005

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 the north and west of Scotland. (41)
Surrounding broch tower at Kintradwell is an extensive settlement. Passages link these buildings with each other and with the broch tower, suggesting the power of the people who occupied the tower at the centre. Before they were fully excavated, it may have been one of these passages which gave rise to local tradition that a passage ran all the way from here to Dunrobin, 7 miles away. (69)
When Kintradwell was excavated in latter half of C19th, the entrance passage was found to be 2.1m high, contrasting markedly with the low, narrow entrances common in most brochs. Within the tower was a rock-cut well, over 2m deep and with steps leading down into it. (49)
Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.
Gourlay, R., 1996. Sutherland. An Archaeological Guide. Edinburgh: Birlinn, 74.
RCAHMS. 1911. Sutherland. Edinburgh: HMSO, 160-1, No. 467.
Information from SCRAN Project March, 2000

NC90NW 5 9293 0807.

(NC 9293 0807) Cinn Trolla (NAT) Broch (NR)
OS 6"map, (1964)

Kintradwell or Cinn Trolla Broch. This broch is situated on a natural terrace near shore. When excavated, the entrance passage in W side was found to be 7ft high at the outer end, but its floor is now covered with debris. At 6ft in from the outer end and again at 14ft in there is a contraction for a door- way. Between these two door checks a guard chamber opens on the right. Within the walls are two chambers, one of which contained a staircase of which 13 steps remain, mostly covered in debris. The broch has an interior diameter of 31ft and the height of the wall in the interior varies from 10ft to 15ft. It is 18ft thick at the entrance,and a scarcement runs round the inner face 8ft from the floor. A well, 7ft deep with steps leading into it, was found in the SE quadrant, close to the wall.
Outside the broch for a distance of 60ft from its base are the remains of irregularly built constructions connected by passages, with an access leading up to the entrance of the broch.
RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909.

Surveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (W D J) 6 April 1962.

Cinn Trolla (name verified) is a broch, generally as described by the RCAHMS though its condition has deteriorated and the guard chamber is now deroofed. Visited by OS (J B) 6 Dcember 1975.

Finds from the broch are in Dunrobin Museum: (Acc Nos 1886.27-50; X90-100) Shale rings and discs (Acc Nos X92-97 and 99-100a); a shale bead (Acc No X98) from either this broch or Backies broch (NC80SW 1). Information from TS of Catalogue of Dunrobin Museum, by A S Henshall.

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> <2>

Lynn Fraser submitted several photographs of the broch via the Highland HER Facebook page and Flickr group. <3> <4>

Finds from 19th century excavations in the NMS include: hammerstones, a stone strike-a-light, steatite lamp, a stone palette interpreted as a possible cosmetic palette, stone whorls, flint scraper, chert flake, fragments of shale rings, an iron dagger blade and iron blade fragment, a socketed iron spearhead, socketed iron too, iron fragment, lead ring, cetacean bone disc, bone implements, bone traction bit, needle of bone or horn, bone spatula, crucible fragments for bronze working, pottery sherds, quernstones of schist and sandstone, a basin formed from cetacean vertebra, stone mortars or knocking stones, stone pestles, fish bones, teeth and/or bones from horse, ox, dog, fox, pig, goat and sheep, horns of reindeer, red deer, sheep and goats, and bird bones (GL 1- GL 101). <5>

The Dornoch Historylinks Image Library has a sepia photo showing the interior of the broch, possibly taken during the Field Club visit of 1880. See link below to view photo. <6>

The objects from Backies or Kintradwell (see MHG10886) broch were catalogued during an inventory of Dunrobin Castle Museum's collection in 2019 by ARCH. They comprised shale rings and fragments (X95-X100, 1866.1-5) and sherds of pottery (ARC 422, 423). The shale objects are on display in case 24, shelf B and the sherds are in one of the cupboards. Also catalogued as from Kintradwell Broch was a grinding stone (1868.39 and ARC 240) on display in case 26 shelf C, a piece of burnt bone or antler (ARC 231) and pot sherds (ARC 255, 283), which were in one of the cupboards. <4>

Several objects fron Dunrobin Castle Museum were loaned to Timespan Museum. These included 3 shale pot lids, a plain stone ball, 2 spindle whorls, a pounder or whetstone, a quartzite pebble, a small bronze strap end, antler tips, 2 bone spatulae, 4 fragments of human skull, pottery sherds and a stone crucible. The 2 spindle whorls and cruicble have been 3D scanned. <7> <8>

Radiocarbon dates were obtained from human skeletal material from within the broch. This was done as part of the Human Remains from Iron Age Atlantic Scotland Dating Project 2009. These indicated Late Iron Age-Early Medieval dates of 135–235 AD and 890–975 AD, calibrated to 1 sigma. <9>

Sources/Archives (30)



Grid reference Centred NC 9292 0807 (70m by 70m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC90NW
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish LOTH

Finds (37)

  • RING (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • BEAD (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • HAMMERSTONE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • STRIKE A LIGHT (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • FLAKE (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • BLADE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SPEARHEAD (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • RING (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • CRUCIBLE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SPATULA (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SHERD (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • QUERN (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • BASIN (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • MORTAR (VESSEL) (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • PESTLE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • LAMP (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • WORKED OBJECT (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • CHISEL? (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • DISC (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • STONE BALL (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • POUNDER? (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • STRAP END (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SPATULA (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • SHERD (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • CRUCIBLE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • RING (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • GRAIN RUBBER (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • BEAD (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (4)

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