Carn Liath (broch)

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Coordinates: 57°59′14″N 3°54′43″W / 57.987215°N 3.912052°W / 57.987215; -3.912052

Carn Liath
Scotland Carn Liath Broch 3.jpg
Interior of Carn Liath
Carn Liath (broch) is located in Highland
Carn Liath (broch)
Shown within Scotland Highland
Location Scottish Highlands
Coordinates 57°59′14″N 3°54′43″W / 57.987215°N 3.912052°W / 57.987215; -3.912052
Type Broch
Periods Iron Age
Site notes
Ownership Historic Scotland

Càrn Liath (English: Grey Cairn)[1] is an Iron Age broch on the eastern shore of the Scottish Highlands, near Golspie, Sutherland.


The broch is located in Farr, Sutherland.[2] It stands beside the A9 road, around 4 kilometres northeast of Golspie.[3] The site is under the care of Historic Scotland and has a car-park and information board for visitors.[1]


The broch has an external diameter of around 19 metres and an internal diameter of around 10 metres.[2] The broch wall is particularly thick.[1] The entrance passage is on the east side and is over 4 metres long.[2] The entrance has elaborate door checks and a bar-hole to control access to the interior.[4] On the right-hand side of the entrance passage is a small guard cell.[1]

The surrounding enclosure contains the ruins of additional stone buildings.[1]


The broch was first excavated in the 19th century by the Duke of Sutherland, and was initially thought to be a burial cairn.[5] Finds included pottery, flint chips, stone hammers, mortars and pestles, querns, whorls, shale rings, long-handled bone combs, a whale bone club, a silver fibula, steatite cups and an iron blade.[5]

In 1909 the entrance passage was still visible on the east side of the broch, but by 1960 no structural features were discernible.[2]

The site was excavated again in 1986.[5] This showed that the site was occupied in the Bronze Age, before the broch was built.[5] A Bronze Age cist burial with a food vessel was discovered.[5] The foundations of many outbuildings were found in the enclosure surrounding the broch.[4] Although many were clearly from a later period, some may have been contemporary with the broch.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Carn Liath". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Site Record for Carn Liath Bunahoun". RCAHMS. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Ritchie, J N G (1998). Brochs of Scotland. Shire Publications. p. 45. ISBN 0747803897. 
  4. ^ a b c Armit, Ian (1998). Scotland's Hidden History. Tempus. p. 105. ISBN 0752414003. 
  5. ^ a b c d e MacSween, Ann; Sharp, Mick (1989). Prehistoric Scotland. New Amsterdam. p. 57. ISBN 071346173X. 

Further reading[edit]

  • P. Love (1989) Recent excavations at Carn Liath Broch, Golspie, Sutherland. GAJ, 15, 1988-9: 157-69

External links[edit]