Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC2793: An Dun, Clachtoll  

Sources: Esri, DigitalGlobe, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, GeoEye, USDA FSA, USGS, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, and the GIS User Community

HER:  Highland HER MHG13002

NMR:  NC 02 NW 2 (4499)

SM:  1831

NGR:  NC 0366 2784

X:  203660  Y:  927840  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

The broch at Clachtoll stands on the elevated rock outcrops above the shore at the S end of the Bay of Stoer and is enclosed by an outer wall extending around its landward flank. Embedded in a mound of rubble, the stump of the broch measures about 9.7m in diameter within a wall up to 4.2m in thickness and in places 3m in height. Its architectural features include mural chambers, guard cells, a mural stair, a scarcement, an upper gallery, and a checked entrance with a bar-hole slot. At a later stage the passageway at the entrance, which is on the NE, has been extended outwards in what must be the arrangement of access leading from the entrance through the outer wall to both the broch and other structures. The outer wall is between 1.2m and 2m in thickness, but expands into terminals 4m thick to either side of the entrance, though this may be a development of the passageway leading to the broch. It encloses an area measuring about 45m from N to S by up to 26m transversely (0.1ha), most of the seaward flank being sloping bare rock; the whole of the southern end is covered with rubble from the broch, which occupies this end. The relationship between the broch and the outer wall is unknown.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Unconfirmed:  Usually considered to be an outwork to the broch, the outer wall encloses an area well below the 0.2ha threshold, though there is no reason why it should not have been a free-standing enclosure

Location

X:  -594709  Y:  8008524  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -5.342359  Latitude:  58.195622  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Highland

Historic County:   Sutherland

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Assynt

Condition

Extant:  
Cropmark:  
Likely Destroyed:  

Land Use

Woodland:  
Commercial Forestry Plantation:  
Parkland:  
Pasture (Grazing):  
Arable:  
Scrub/Bracken:  
Bare Outcrop:  
Heather/Moorland:  
Heath:  
Built-up:  
Coastal Grassland:  
Other:  

Landscape

Hillfort Type

Contour Fort:  
Partial Contour Fort:  
Promontory Fort:  
Hillslope Fort:  
Level Terrain Fort:  
Marsh Fort:  
Multiple Enclosure Fort:  

Topographic Position

Hilltop:  
Coastal Promontory:  
Inland Promontory:  
Valley Bottom:  
Knoll/Hillock/Outcrop:  
Ridge:  
Cliff/Plateau-edge/Scarp:  
Hillslope:  
Lowland:  
Spur:  

Dominant Topographic Feature:  

Aspect

North:  
Northeast:  
East:  
Southeast:  
South:  
Southwest:  
West:  
Northwest:  
Level:  

Elevation

Altitude:  10.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

No dating evidence from the most recent investigations has yet been advanced for either the broch or the outer defence

Reliability:  D - None

Pre 1200BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
400BC - AD50:  
AD50 - AD400:  
AD400 - AD 800:  
Post AD800:  
Unknown:  

Pre Hillfort Activity:  ✗  

Post Hillfort Activity:  ✗  

None:  No details.

Investigations

Euan MacKie visited in 1984, 1988, 2001 and 2005. RCAHMS and Highland HER hold numerous photographs.

1st Identified Map Depiction (1875):  Named in Gothic type and annotated '(Pictish)' on the 1st edition OS 6-inch map (Sutherland 1878, sheet 58)
Other (1909):  Description (RCAHMS 1911, 2-3, no.7)
Other (1935):  Scheduled
Other (1960):  Visited by the OS
Other (1974):  Surveyed at 1:1250 by Alan Ayre of the OS
Other (1980):  Visited by the OS
Other (1984):  Description by Euan MacKie (2007, 614-16)
Earthwork Survey (2008):  Plan by RCAHMS (GV005330 & SC1365665; SC1365663 )
Earthwork Survey (2010):  Broch scanned by AOC archaeology (Cavers and Hudson 2010, 9-10, fig 9)
Excavation (2011):  Limited investigations of the broch as part of a programme of consolidation (Barber 2011)

Interior Features

Largely occupied by the broch, what are probably fragments of associated structures and rubble

Water Source

None:  
Spring:  
Stream:  
Pool:  
Flush:  
Well:  
Other:  

Surface

Occupied by a broch and various structures probably associated with its occupation.

No Known Features:  
Round Stone Structures:  
Rectangular Stone Structures:  
Curvilinear Platforms:  
Other Roundhouse Evidence:  
Pits:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  

Excavation

No Known Excavation:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Geophysics

No Known Geophysics:  
Pits:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Finds

Steatite cup apparently found by the Rev Joass, now in Dunrobin Museum; Euan MacKie found part of a rotary quern in the rubble of the wall.

No Known Finds:  
Pottery:  
Metal:  
Metalworking:  
Human Bones:  
Animal Bones:  
Lithics:  
Environmental:  
Other:  

Aerial

The broch

APs Not Checked:  
None:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Other:  

Entrances

See main summary

Total Number of Breaks Through Ramparts:  

Number of Possible Original Entrances:   

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Entrance 1 (East):  Simple Gap:  Expanded wall terminals

Enclosing Works

Single wall cutting off a promontory

Enclosed Area 1:  0.1ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.1ha.

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✗  This excludes the broch

Number of Ramparts:  1

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  
Number of Ramparts NW Quadrant:  

Current Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  
Unknown:  

Multi-period Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:  
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  

Surface Evidence

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Rubble:  
Wall-walk:  
Evidence of Timber:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
Other:  

Excavated Evidence

Minor excavation has focused on the broch

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Murus Duplex:  
Timber-framed:  
Timber-laced:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
No Known Excavation:  
Other:  

Gang Working

Gang Working:  ✗ 

Ditches

Ditches:  

Number of Ditches:  

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Barber, J (2011) 'Clachtoll Broch _ Life and Death in Assynts Past Project, Highland (Assynt parish), conservation work'. Disc Exc Scot, New Ser 12 (2011), 96-97

Cavers, G and Hudson G (2010) Assynt's Hidden Lives; An archaeological survey of the parish. AOC Archaeology Group: Loanhead

Feachem, R (1963) A guide to prehistoric Scotland. Batsford: London (p 174)

MacKie, E W (2007) The Roundhouses, Brochs and Wheelhouses of Atlantic Scotland c.700 BC-AD 500: architecture and material culture, the Northern and Southern Mainland and the Western Islands, BAR British series 444(II), 444(1), 2 V. BAR: Oxford

RCAHMS (1911) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Second report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Sutherland. HMSO: Edinburgh

Terms of Use

The online version of the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland should be cited as:

Lock, G. and Ralston, I. 2017.  Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland. [ONLINE] Available at: https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.