Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairn of Humster, broch

A Scheduled Monument in Wick and East Caithness, Highland

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Latitude: 58.4199 / 58°25'11"N

Longitude: -3.1093 / 3°6'33"W

OS Eastings: 335297

OS Northings: 948487

OS Grid: ND352484

Mapcode National: GBR L6PG.VR8

Mapcode Global: WH6DN.6MMK

Entry Name: Cairn of Humster, broch

Scheduled Date: 7 February 1939

Last Amended: 11 October 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM533

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: broch

Location: Wick

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wick and East Caithness

Traditional County: Caithness


The monument is the remains of a broch, a complex and substantial stone-built roundhouse dating from the Iron Age (between about 600 BC and AD 400). It is visible as a low, mostly turf-covered mound bounded by the remains of a ditch and bank on its southwest side. The broch is approximately 45m in diameter and rises to a height of about 1.9m. It survives on agricultural land, at a height of 35m above sea level, 1.3km west of the Caithness coastline. 

The scheduled area is circular, measuring 66m in diameter to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above ground elements of all modern boundary features. The monument was first scheduled in 1939, but the scheduling did not include all the archaeological remains and the documentation did not meet current standards; the present amendment rectifies this.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance because of its potential to add significantly to our understanding of prehistoric settlement, society, economy and domestic life. There is high potential that this broch's structural footprint survives undisturbed, retaining buried archaeological and environmental evidence for its use and abandonment, adding considerably to its importance. The potential to compare this broch with others in the vicinity also adds to its significance. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the development, use and re-use of brochs, and the nature of Iron Age society, economy and social hierarchy in the north of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland CANMORE ID 9639 (accessed on 13/04/2015)

The Highland Council HER reference is MHG1719 (accessed on 13/04/2015).

Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, 1911, Third report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Caithness. London. P.146


HER/SMR Reference

Highland Council MHG1719

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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