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Brochs In Caithness

Prehistoric Caithness List  Archaeology


A to Z of Caithness

There are many brochs in Caithness - possibly as many as 300.  Most have never been excavated and many are difficult to find.  But there also quite few very near to main or side roads, at the edges of fields and near the coast or lochs.  Because the Caithness landscape has been lived in for thousands of years there are many other periods represented beneath a whole variety of mounds and unusual features.  Most of Caithness is not marked as a tourist trail but ask any local farmer of person in a local village and you will soon find directions to many places whether brochs, iron age hut circles, lime kilns, 19th century villages.  But the brochs are among the most mysterious.   For all that is known about the sheer numbers of them in the far north of Scotland little is known about the people who built them.  Speculation still goes on as they left no written records.  Are people of the north related to the people of that time.  Did they die out  -possibly DNA testing might begin to point in a few directions if they can get good samples from old bones.  You can still stand on some brochs in the county and see what it might have been like - although it is thought that back then Caithness had much more tree and shrub cover than now and the climate was slightly warmer.

Caithness Broch Centre

Ballacharn Broch - 5 January 2013

Whitegate Broch, Keiss Excavation July 2006
Whitegate  Broch is being excavated by a team under the leadership of Dr Andy Heald of the National Museum of Scotland with students from Nottingham university and local amateur archaeologists.  The two brochs at Keiss harbour are under investigation with the larger dig being concentrated on the Whitegate broch.  The project has the full support of the Caithness Archaeological Trust.


Nybster Broch Dig 2005

Nybster 2011

Nybster Photos 16 July 2015

Roadside Broch Keiss 11 September 2004

Thrumster or Old Garden Broch

This broch is in the grounds of Thrumster House and is not open to the public although it is open to people booked to say for shooting and fishing holidays.

Everley Broch
In July/August 2001 a team from Edinburgh University archaeology department and The National Museum for Scotland commend to uncover the broch that was once dug by Sir Tres Barry.  They will return for perhaps three more years to carry on more work and go further than he did to evaluate his findings and the many items he recovered and perhaps find more.

Caithness has over 100 Brochs and most have never been dug by archaeologists.  Those that have been were mainly in the nineteenth century when methods were not as advanced.  The estimated costs to carry out such work properly over two or three years might cost between a quarter and half a million pounds.  No group has so far been able to come up with the funding to carry out the work.  Dunbeath Heritage Centre have been encouraging students to make Caithness Archaeology part of their studies and several have taken up the challenge in recent years.  This may yet prove to be the start of unravelling the mysteries of the Brochs.  With no written records there is much speculation surrounding them.  In coming months we will begin to add to the lists and make references where available to Brochs within Caithness.org and elsewhere.

Dunbeath Broch

Dun Beath Broch  Dunbeath Heritage Web Site

Elsay Broch, Staxigoe 

Everley Broch

Keiss Beach Broch

Keiss Broch - A walk in archaeology Week Oct 2000

Nybster Broch -A walk in archaeology Week 2000

Tiantulloch Broch and long house,


Crosskirk Broch