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TITLE
Dun Carloway, Lewis
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_2475_3_P004
PLACENAME
Dun Carloway
DISTRICT
Lewis
DATE OF IMAGE
1890
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
31699
KEYWORDS
dwellings
archaeology
Dun Carloway, Lewis

Dun Carloway (Dùn Chàrlabhaigh), on the island of Lewis, is one of the best preserved brochs. It stands on a hillside overlooking Loch Roag and the ruins of blackhouses that may have been built using stone taken from it.

Dun Carloway was probably built around 50 BC. Surrounded by primitive dwellings with free-ranging livestock, it would have been used as a lookout tower. The tallest part still standing is 6.7 m (22 ft) high. The overall diameter is 14.3 m (47 ft), and the inner courtyard, with two side cells leading off, is 7. 5m (24 ft) across. Originally, the walls might have been about 13 m (43 ft) high. The double wall is well preserved and shows how tiers of galleries were linked by a stone staircase within the hollow wall.

There is a guard cell off the entrance passage. On the ground floor there are a number of chambers which may have been used to house farm animals. The human residents would have lived above on a wooden floor supported on a ledge that can still be seen running around the inside walls.

It seems to have been still largely intact in the 16th century when members of the Morrison clan sought refuge there after being discovered stealing cattle from the MacAulays of Uig. Legend has it that Donald Cam MacAulay climbed the outside wall and threw in burning heather, smoking out the Morrisons.

Dun Carloway featured prominently in reports on Western Isles brochs in the late 19th century and became one of the first ancient monuments in Scotland to be taken into state care. By this time a large a part of the wall had been removed, possibly to build the blackhouses nearby. The site is now in the care of Historic Scotland.

This plate is taken from 'On the Duns of the Outer Hebrides' by F.W.L.Thomas and published in 'Archaeologia Scotica or Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland', vol V (1890)

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Dun Carloway, Lewis

dwellings; archaeology

Highland Libraries

Fraser Mackintosh Collection (illustrations)

Dun Carloway (Dùn Chàrlabhaigh), on the island of Lewis, is one of the best preserved brochs. It stands on a hillside overlooking Loch Roag and the ruins of blackhouses that may have been built using stone taken from it.<br /> <br /> Dun Carloway was probably built around 50 BC. Surrounded by primitive dwellings with free-ranging livestock, it would have been used as a lookout tower. The tallest part still standing is 6.7 m (22 ft) high. The overall diameter is 14.3 m (47 ft), and the inner courtyard, with two side cells leading off, is 7. 5m (24 ft) across. Originally, the walls might have been about 13 m (43 ft) high. The double wall is well preserved and shows how tiers of galleries were linked by a stone staircase within the hollow wall.<br /> <br /> There is a guard cell off the entrance passage. On the ground floor there are a number of chambers which may have been used to house farm animals. The human residents would have lived above on a wooden floor supported on a ledge that can still be seen running around the inside walls.<br /> <br /> It seems to have been still largely intact in the 16th century when members of the Morrison clan sought refuge there after being discovered stealing cattle from the MacAulays of Uig. Legend has it that Donald Cam MacAulay climbed the outside wall and threw in burning heather, smoking out the Morrisons.<br /> <br /> Dun Carloway featured prominently in reports on Western Isles brochs in the late 19th century and became one of the first ancient monuments in Scotland to be taken into state care. By this time a large a part of the wall had been removed, possibly to build the blackhouses nearby. The site is now in the care of Historic Scotland.<br /> <br /> This plate is taken from 'On the Duns of the Outer Hebrides' by F.W.L.Thomas and published in 'Archaeologia Scotica or Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland', vol V (1890)