Friday 22 June 2018  Issue No 2291


The Iron Age Continues at Clachtoll Broch                

Archaeologists and local history enthusiasts will be looking for more evidence of Iron Age life at the broch at Clachtoll, in Assynt, Sutherland, in the first two weeks of July 2018. Substantial excavation and conservation work during 2017, organised by Historic Assynt, uncovered a unique collection of finds from the previously undisturbed floor of the broch. Archaeologists will now complete the conservation and consolidation of the monument and explore into some so-far untouched parts of the building, including a chamber between the walls. The dig will be open to the public, with volunteers welcome, and experimental archaeology activities will explore how local materials, including clay, wood, leather and wool, were used by the Iron Age broch inhabitants and plans are afoot to culminate with an Iron Age feast.


Gordon Sleight, Chairman of Historic Assynt, said, ‘This phase of the broch project will involve a wide range of interactive activities and we hope lots of people will come along and get involved in the dig or try out making an iron age style object using materials still readily available. We have found lots of pottery, evidence of textile work and of course food, and we hope to make some replicas of the finds. This experimental work will be a lot of fun but it also has a serious purpose, for example, we will be using stone and hazel to build an almost full-scale model of a section of the broch in order to understand how the broch’s interior floors and ceilings might have been made.’

Events will kick off with a presentation by the archaeologists at 7.30pm on Friday 22 June 2018 in Stoer Hall, summarising the results so far of research into the archaeological finds.

The hazel flooring experiment will run alongside the excavation, which will be from Monday 2 July to Saturday 14 July 2018. On Monday 25 and Wednesday 27 June there will be pottery workshops with local potters Fergus Stewart and Marc Campbell, using local clay, from 3.30 to 6pm (meet at Clachtoll car park). The pottery will be fired in an open pit kiln on Monday 2 July.  Wool work will be on Thursday 5 July with leather work likely to be on Thursday 12 July. The feast is likely to be on Saturday 14 July 2018. There will also be guided walks and foraging events. Full details will be on local posters and the broch website:

Last year’s excavation removed hundreds of tonnes of rubble from inside the building and produced a unique assemblage of objects including the largest collection of lamps ever found from at such a site in Britain. Because the building collapsed due to a fire sometime after 150BC, everything under the rubble had been untouched since the Iron Age. The broch would have stood up to 14 metres (40 feet) high, with a double-walled cooling-tower shape, with chambers between the inner and outer circular walls. The people who built it were part of a sophisticated maritime culture stretching up to the Northern Isles and out to the Hebrides at a time prior to the Roman conquest of southern Britain.

The archaeology project is organised by Historic Assynt, a local community organisation. With the assistance of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Historic Assynt raised around £500,000 to enable the excavation and conservation work to go ahead. The project is part of the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership of which the Scottish Wildlife Trust is the lead partner. Funding has been provided thanks to players of the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, SSE's Sustainable Development Fund, The Pilgrim Trust, Robert Kiln Trust and individual donors.

Visitors are welcome to the dig at any time between 2pm and 5pm on Monday 2 July and from 9am and 5pm all other days (except Sunday) up to 14 July.

For more information, contact:

Gordon Sleight, Phone: 01571 855207 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or see the website at

or the Historic Assynt Facebook page: