Clachtoll: an Iron Age broch settlement in Assynt, north-west Scotland

Review by Ronan Toolis

The excavation of Clachtoll in 2017 examined the interior of a broch buried beneath a conflagration that had occurred during the early 1st century AD and untouched since.

This book examines an impressive assemblage of finds including iron tools and implements, a securely dated pottery assemblage, stone lamps, bone combs, and cereal-processing. Altogether it is a snapshot of an Iron Age home at the very tail-end of its lifespan. Like several other excavated brochs, catastrophic destruction events led to optimal preservation conditions. But what distinguishes this report is the critical analysis of structural evidence in relation to the artefactual distribution and ground-floor deposits.

While the exploration of the local context is exemplary – targeted evaluations of nearby sites revealed a contemporary settlement pattern – the discussion of this is rather stunted. Nevertheless, this book is essential reading for those researching brochs within their local and chronological contexts.

Clachtoll: an Iron Age broch settlement in Assynt, north-west Scotland
Graeme Cavers (ed.)
Oxbow Books, £28
ISBN 978-1789258479