Thrumster Broch Project

Yarrows Heritage Trust logoAOC Archaeology Group logoThe Yarrows Heritage Trust will be excavating at Thrumster Broch, Caithness, from Monday 4th to Sunday 24th July under the guidance of AOC Archaeology Group. This exciting public archaeology project is taking place as part of the CBA's Festival of British Archaeology, 16th to 31st July 2011.

The site is located in the grounds of Thrumster Mains, and is an apparently solid-walled roundhouse similar to other brochs in the area, located on a prominent spur of land close to the nationally important archaeological landscape of Yarrows.

Thrumster Broch dates to the Iron Age (c. 700 BC – AD 500). It is one of many sites in Caithness to have been excavated in the 19th century although no accurate or detailed records survive. The interior of the roundhouse was emptied of rubble over 200 years ago, and a summer house built in the area of the broch entrance.

Based on previous experience, the excavators are fairly certain of finding surviving Iron Age archaeology. Surviving records from the 19th century suggest that the site was also subject to secondary activity. The retrieval of a long-handled bone weaving comb and human skeletal remains in the rubble of the broch suggest activity in the late Iron Age and Early Historic centuries. This fits well with the known pattern of post-Iron Age activity at broch sites in Caithness, so there is good reason to expect significant post-broch archaeology surrounding the roundhouse itself.

The 2011 excavations have three main research objectives:

I. What remains of in-situ archaeological deposits in the broch itself?

II. Did the antiquarian investigation destroy the entrance to the broch or do vestiges remain?

III. What features, buildings or deposits survive around the broch?

It is hoped that the answers to these questions will become evident through the YHT excavations and the subsequent post-excavation analysis.

Highland Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo Leader Project logo Scottish Natural Heritage logo

Notes from the Highland HER

The above information has been compiled from information on AOC Archaeology Group's project website. Visit to keep up to date with events and read the dig diary.