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 Highland
LocationScottish Highlands
Coordinates57°59′14″N 3°54′43″W / 57.987215°N 3.912052°W / 57.987215; -3.912052
PeriodsIron Age
Site notes
OwnershipHistoric Environment 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 near Golspie in Sutherland.[2] It stands beside the A9 road, around 4 kilometres northeast of Golspie.[3] The site is under the care of Historic Environment 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 Environment Scotland. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Historic Environment Scotland. "Carn Liath (6833)". Canmore. 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]