Past & Present

Dùn Bhuirgh

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(Photo: Jill Harden)

This was an ideal location for a local aristocrat to clearly mark his control over the rich agricultural lands of Borgh some 2,500 to 2,000 years ago. He did so by building an impressive stone-walled, circular broch or dun. This was the equivalent of a small tower house or castle, but built in the Iron Age.

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View from Dùn Bhuirgh towards Tarasaigh (Photo: Jill Harden)

All that obviously survives at Dùn Bhuirgh is the shape and size of what would have been an imposing building. Parts of the outer wall face can be seen at the edges of the rocky knoll as well as short lengths of the inner wall face. The remains of the entrance passage in the eastern arc open into a living area about 6m in diameter.

It seems likely that the space inside Dùn Bhuirgh was organised in a set way. The entrance took in the sun, so the brighter internal space around the south was probably for activities. Weaving, grinding grain, potting and preparing food all needed the light. The darker area around the north would have been for sleeping; it could also have been used for storage. At the centre of the space was the large stone-lined hearth used for cooking.

Like the dun that overlooks Roghadal Church, this power centre was probably abandoned in the early 1st millennium AD. Most recently both have been crowned with marker cairns. But in earlier centuries their stones were robbed for nearby buildings. Against the eastern wall of Dùn Bhuirg are the remains of a hut, while at the foot of the knoll are the ruins of a couple of other small houses, all dating to before the 1840s.

By Jill Harden

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