Dun an Sticir – Iron Age

Dun a Sticir is a particularly interesting example of how, in mediaeval times, the original, Iron Age ‘brochs’, hollow walled, windowless fortifications, often built on islands and reached by a tricky causeway, were later adapted for more domestic purposes. The building of brochs for defensive purposes seems to date from 500 B.C. when, over the previous thousand years cooler, climactic changes had encouraged layers of peat gradually to move downhill, overgrazing was taking its toll, land for cultivation became scarcer, and people were forced to migrate to the lower ground.

Duns comprised a single, outer, rounded wall, forming a tall tower, often rising to 40 feet, mirrored internally by a second curving wall, enclosing an inner chamber. This was a relatively straightforward fortification to build in order to protect your land. Dun a Sticir also showed Beveridge evidence of a gallery, six feet above ground level. Remains of two huts where livestock could be protected could be seen. The rectangular stone structure, built within the walls, with its door and window, using the stone available, dates from the mediaeval period.

A second island, Eilean na Mi-Chomhairle, the Island of Bad Council, is linked to Dun a Sticir, the ‘Dun of the Skulker’, both Gaelic names suggesting a darker and less peaceful era.

The canmore entry for Dun an Sticir is here.