Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC2824: Brough  

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

HER:  Highland HER MHG1591

NMR:  ND 27 SW 8 (8914)

SM:  

NGR:  ND 2283 7404

X:  322830  Y:  974040  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

All the visible elements of this fortification occupying a precipitous promontory on the coast NE of Brough probably belong to an undocumented castle, and if there was an earlier fort here nothing of it remains visible. The defences comprise a ditch some 12m broad and 4m deep cut across the neck on the on the SSW, behind which there was probably a keep guarding an entrance, though nothing of this is visible. Ranges of buildings extend down the margins of the promontory to either side of a central roadway, and there is a bank with an external ditch separating them from the narrow finger of land that projects a further 40m out into the sea. The interior of the castle measures no more than 30m from NNE to SSW by 15m transversely (0.04ha).

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Unconfirmed:  Visible elements appear to be the remains of a castle, and in any case falling well below the 0.2ha threshold

Location

X:  -370846  Y:  8104570  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -3.331362  Latitude:  58.647429  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Highland

Historic County:   Caithness

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Dunnet

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:  20.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

In the absence of excavation, there are neither stratified artefacts nor radiocarbon dates to provide a chronology for the defences Neverteless, the visible remains are likely to represent a castle.

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:  ✓  

Morphology/Earthwork/Typology:  Castle

Investigations

First identified as a castle by Alexander Curle of RCAHMS in 1910.

1st Identified Map Depiction (1873):  Annotated 'Fort' and 'Fosse' on the 1st edtition OS 25-inch map (Caithness 1876, sheet 1.11 & 1.15 )
Other (1910):  Description (RCAHMS 1911, 27, no.82)
Other (1965):  Resurveyed at 1:2500 by the OS
Other (1971):  Description and photographs by Raymond Lamb (1980, 92)
Other (1981):  Visited by the OS
Earthwork Survey (1981):  Plan and description by R J Mercer (1981, 77-78, fig 31)
Earthwork Survey (1982):  Copy of a plan in Highland HER is probably from the Caithness Coastal Survey (Batey 1982)

Interior Features

Occupied by ranges of buildings

Water Source

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

Surface

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

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

Aerial

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:  0:  Must be from the S

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Enclosing Works

Ditches and wall or ramparts isolating the central sector of a promontory

Enclosed Area 1:  0.04ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.0ha.

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✗  

Number of Ramparts:  1

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

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:  1:  One at either end

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Batey, C E (1982) Caithness coastal survey 1982: interim reports 1980-2, typescript Durham University.

Coventry, M (2008) Castles of the Clans: the strongholds and seats of 750 Scottish families and clans. Musselburgh (p 100)

Lamb, R G (1980) Iron Age promontory forts in the Northern Isles. Brit Archaeol Rep, British Ser 79. BAR: Oxford

Mercer, R J (1981) Archaeological field survey in northern Scotland: volume II, 1980-81. University of Edinburgh, Department of Archaeology, Occasional Paper No. 7: Edinburgh

RCAHMS (1911) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Third report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Caithness. HMSO, London

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.

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