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1 August 2009
Caithness broch centre opened

A new centre focusing on the brochs of the far north of Scotland opened at the weekend. Caithness Archaeological Trust has spearheaded the transformation of the former Northlands Viking Centre, at Auckengill (Highland, Scotland). It is the latest initiative to showcase the area's ancient treasures and help secure visitor spin-offs similar to those enjoyed across the water in Orkney.
     The focus is firmly on brochs - mysterious Iron Age stone towers whose exact purpose has still to be established conclusively. Caithness, and the area around Sinclair Bay in particular, has one of the largest concentrations of brochs in Scotland. One of the goals for the centre is to attract more visitors to see them. The centre has sections on the people who built and lived beside the brochs more than 2,000 years ago and the 19th-century archaeologists who first excavated the structures.
     The revamp has been led by the trust, which has arranged to display a large collection from the National Museums Scotland in the centre. The 150 items include gaming pieces, painted pebbles, spindle whorls, stone balls, rings, combs and Roman pottery. Bill Fernie, chairman of the council's education, culture and sport committee, said: "Caithness has been called Broch Central due to the many brochs and standing stones to be found - one of the largest concentrations in Scotland - and now will be able to really let people know about them."

Source: The Press and Journal (27 July 2009)

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