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Caithness Broch Centre (02/12/08)
Work commences this week in the transformation of the old Northlands Viking Centre at Auckengill into the Caithness Broch Centre, which is due to open in the spring. This new facility, collaboration between Caithness Archaeological Trust and Highland Council, will celebrate the extraordinarily rich archaeology landscape of Caithness.
The county has an abundance of chambered cairns, brochs, stone circles, settlements, castles and harbours. Central to understanding of Scottish prehistory in the centuries before the formation of the Scottish nation are the brochs – large stone towers built over 2000 years ago. Caithness has more brochs per square mile than any other region and the area in and around Sinclair Bay on the north coast of Caithness is unique. It has the densest distribution of brochs in Scotland and has seen more broch excavations than any other area.
The Caithness Broch Centre, Ionad Bhroch Ghallaibh is home to an ambitious and innovative display that presents a new story of the prehistory of the north coast of Caithness during the time of the brochs. It will have three main narratives: the nineteenth century community who first excavated the brochs; the community who lived in the area two thousand years ago; and the community who now work and live with the brochs.
The Caithness Archaeological Trust (CAT) has led on the project since the outset and is overseeing the transformation of this Highland Council facility. National Museums Scotland are lending a substantial collection of relevant material for the displays. There will be close links with the newly opened Caithness Horizons in Thurso.
Pupils from Keiss Primary School and their teachers have been closely involved in the related broch excavations and class teacher Rhona Macpherson has been involved in the development of a Teachers’ Pack about the brochs.
The project is funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Heritage Lottery Fund, Highland 2007, and The Highland Council.