By Bernie Bell
Regular readers of TON will be familiar with my liking for Brochs – Iron Age structures of great solidity. We’re even building a mini-broch in our garden – and it will be complete when Mike gets the time to make the roof, which is proving to be the tricky part.
The Caithness Broch Project also mean to build a ‘new’ – full size – Broch – and I hope that they’ll find the roof easier to construct that we are doing!
I will now present you with the most recent developments on their broch reconstruction project which I have copied, with the kind permission of Ken McElroy……….
“If we could take you back in time, to two thousand years ago, you would witness a very different Scotland.
The landscape would have been dominated by a variety of imposing and mighty monuments; hill-forts, wheelhouses and crannogs could be found across the country, a patchwork of enigmatic structures reflecting a bustling Iron Age society.
Yet none are quite so dramatic as the ‘pinnacle of prehistoric architecture’: the brochs of Scotland!
These ancient drystone structures towered over the landscape; over 40 feet high with double walls and internal cells, galleries and voids, these complex constructions are a testament to the skills and ingenuity of our ancestors. The remains of around 400 brochs can be found in Scotland; yet only one stands close to how it would have originally appeared all those years ago.
But we want to change that. We are Caithness Broch Project, and we want to do something that hasn’t been attempted in 2,000 years: we want to build a broch!
And today, we are able to share our dream with you. This is our vision, and this is our ambition.
Carefully designed by CBP’s Iain Maclean, and beautifully crafted into existence by 3D illustrator Bob Marshall, our dream broch is a grand design of epic proportions. Over 60 feet high (including the roof) and borrowing elements from brochs across Scotland, this is experimental archaeology on a whole new level!
The project, however, is much more than just building big: we will use techniques and materials only available to our Iron Age counterparts to bring our vision to life; to help develop a deeper understanding of these fascinating structures; to help answer how they were built and why they were built, and to nurture traditional skills so close to the heart of the story of Caithness.
We will build our broch in Caithness: with the archaeological remains of nearly 200 of these structures to be found in the county, it can safely be described as the ‘Home of the Broch’. We think it is fitting that Caithness will be home to the first broch to be built in Scotland for 2,000 years!
We want to inspire, educate and celebrate the Iron Age past of Scotland through this iconic monument; we hope we can create something special for the county of Caithness, but we want to create something exciting for all of the world to enjoy.