Scheduled Monument

Castlehill, broch 400m NNW of KylerheaSM2189

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Prehistoric domestic and defensive: broch, Secular: Viking graves (pagan)
Local Authority
ND 19367 68764
319367, 968764


The monument is a grass-covered mound that probably contains the remains of a broch, a complex stone-built substantial roundhouse, dating from the Iron Age (between 600 BC and AD 400). The mound is located about 7m above sea level, 20m inland from the shore of Dunnet Bay.

The mound is approximately oval in shape, measuring around 25m in northwest-southeast by 14m transversely and 2.7m in height. The shape of the mound has been modified by construction of a wall and track on the north side and by ploughing to the south. Many small stone slabs are visible protruding through the turf.  In 1786 a Norse burial was found on top of the mound, comprising a skeleton accompanied by two brooches, a jet armlet and a bone pin.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. On the northeast side the scheduling extends up to but excludes a stone wall. The scheduling specifically excludes the above ground elements of a post and wire fence that runs parallel with the wall. The monument was first scheduled in 1962, but the documentation did not meet current standards: the present amendment rectifies this.


Statement of National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it can make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular of Iron Age society in northern Scotland and the construction, use and development of brochs. The size of the upstanding mound indicates this monument is likely to retain its structural characteristics to a marked degree, with potential for significant survival of walls and features such as intramural cells.  There is high potential for a complex sequence of buried remains; brochs were often modified and remodelled during the period of their use and often attracted later settlement. The Norse burial found at this monument is an important and rare example of the later use of a broch site for burial. The monument's importance is enhanced by its association with other brochs located to the east and southeast of Thurso. The loss of the monument would diminish our ability to understand the development and use of brochs in Caithness and their role in the Iron Age settlement pattern.



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 8383.

The Highland Council Historic Environment Record reference is MHG1496.

HER/SMR Reference


About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 21/05/2024 02:23