I want to thank everyone for being so patient with us while we continue to work on organising our funding, as well as set up our office and infrastructure. We're making great strides, but it'll be a bit longer before we're able to share more!
On the bright side, now that Lockdown in the UK has begun to ease up, I'm taking the opportunity to finally leave Dundee for a while, and I'm spending a few days next week a few kilometres south, so I'll make some time to put together another Newsletter Special next week!
This week, I'm looking at something which isn't Neolithic, but is a fantastic historical site of the Isle of Skye; Dun Beag Broch.
A 'Broch' is the name of a stout, round tower built in the Iron Age and exclusive to northern and western Scotland. Dun Beag itself means 'Little Fort', to distinguish it from the larger Dun Mor Broch (Big Fort) about half a mile inland. The Fort stands on a 13m high outcrop on the coast overlooking Loch Harport; It is classicly circular in shape, and is 62 feet (18.9m) in diameter.
It's believed to be 2500 years old; there is a story I found that it may have been built not as a fortification to guard the coast but more as a status symbol; designed to show the wealth and status of the local chieftain. However, there have been excavations in the 1900s that showed that it may have functioned as a dwelling until the late medieval period; some of the earliest coins discovered here were minted by Henry II's administration (1154-1189).
The interior is made up of an interesting network of passages that would have acted as both access up and down the fort and as a form of insulation; I've added some diagrams I found below that really showcase what Dun Beag Broch would have looked like!
The entrance to the Broch leads to a narrow passageway between the inner and outer doors; there a door checks in the stone that indicate a timber door originally stood here. The entrance splits into a guardroom on the ground floor, with a staircase that leads up to the top floor within the structure.
It really shows off how intricate these circular buildings are, especially for a Dry Stone structure; Dun Beag Broch is among nearly five hundred brochs that cover the Scottish Highlands so I'll definitely look into others for comparison in the future.
Thanks a lot for reading!