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Dun Carloway Broch
Isle of Lewis, Scotland

[Monday - 10/24/94] Dun Carloway was the second site that we wanted to see on Lewis after the Callanish monuments. Dun Carloway stands on a hillside, overlooking the ruins of blackhouses that were probably built using stone robbed from it. It's a fine location for a broch in that it can be seen clearly from a distance and the steep hillside below it would make for excellent defence.

Part of the tower still stands to a height of around thirty feet on the side directly over the steep drop. At the other side of the building is the single, low entrance. At head height you can still see a ledge running around the inside wall of the broch that would have helped to support a wooden floor.

Dun Carloway (Dùn Chárlabhaigh) is an Iron Age broch thought to have been built around 2000 years ago. Brochs are generally of circular construction with very thick walls, that enclose stairs, floors and even rooms. Dun Carloway is about 47 feet across and the walls that remain standing are about 6m high. Brochs were built mainly on the Western side of 'Scotland' - there are at least 7 on Lewis.

Dun Carloway is one of the best preserved brochs. Originally, the walls might have been about 43 feet high. The broch's typical double wall is well preserved, showing how tiers of galleries were linked by a stone staircase within the hollow wall.

In 1971 one of the cells was excavated. A series of deposits was uncovered, interpreted as a succession of hearths, probably later than the main period of the broch's use. From the lack of metalworking slag or domestic refuse, and the abundance of vessel sherds, the cell was thought to have been used for the firing of pottery.

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