Dun Colbost

A five year long archaeological search to reveal more about Glendale and its ancient past is set to take place.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, local woman Ann MacSween and fellow enthusiast, Dave Reed, carried out excavations at Dun Colbost. The purpose of the excavations was to assess the archaeological deposits on top of the knoll, and also below the knoll. Three short seasons of excavation were carried out and there was considerable interest from the community throughout.

As a result of their efforts various finds were made including pottery dating to the Iron Age, over two thousand years ago, which is similar to the pottery from other excavated brochs in the area including Dun an Iardhard near Dunvegan Castle and Dun Beag near Struan.

Now, according to the community published Glendale Times, beginning next year Ann is set to return to the excavation site this time accompanied by John Barber, an expert in broch architecture  who has agreed to co-direct the excavations at Dun Colbost.

As Chairman of AOC Archaeology Group and in addition to finishing off a doctorate on Iron Age engineering, John, is currently involved in a number of community archaeology projects in Caithness, while Ann has previously researched the brochs and duns of Skye and her expertise is in artefacts, especially pottery. Both are interested in what brochs can tell about the communities that lived in Skye 2000 years ago.

Dun Colbost itself is a well preserved example in a beautiful location and there is a feeling that it is a site that both locals and visitors would enjoy visiting.

The excavations carried out previously have shown that there is good survival of archaeological materials on the site and that further fieldwork would help understand more about the construction of the broch and the life of its inhabitants.

The Project proposal is to run over 5 years and will include:

Year 1 (2017) – excavate the entrance passage and reveal and secure the lintels. Excavate the floor of the passage and retrieve any dating material. Clear the wall-head.

Year 2 (2018) – excavate the broch interior. This will require a considerable amount of stone removal before the excavation begins.

Year 3 (2019) – complete excavation of the broch interior and excavate between the broch and the surrounding wall.

Years 4 and 5 (2020/21) – completion of reporting and publication, path works and interpretation.

The proposal which is still currently in the development stages intends to provide opportunities for the involvement of the local community and may also offer site tours and lectures. Work is ongoing to provide more information regarding the project and it is anticipated that public workshops will be carried out in the area for those who are interested in knowing more.

As part of the Glendale Homecoming July 22nd - 23r, Ann and John will be hosting a talk on their proposal. Weather permitting on site at Dun Colbost Broch or in the Glendale Hall on Friday 22nd July 2016