Clickimin Broch is sited on a promontory projecting into the Loch of Clickimin. Before the water level was lowered in 1874, the site was connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway, probably constructed in the later Iron Age. The remains of the causeway can still be seen today.
A complex site
The promontory at Clickimin shows evidence of having been occupied from at least the Bronze Age, about 1000 BC. Its use continued to about AD 500. Its development sequence is unclear and open to interpretation, but the main elements are generally believed to be:
- a late Bronze Age house, outbuilding and enclosure
- an early Iron Age enclosed site, consisting of a stout wall with a shallow ditch across the isthmus connecting the islet to the mainland
- a middle Iron Age broch, with later alterations, and a blockhouse with a central passage and cells erected within the ring-fort
- a later Iron Age wheelhouse-type building, inserted within the broch tower, and a stone causeway leading to the site.
It is possible that some of the structures around the broch tower are of even later date; it is not uncommon to find Pictish settlement on such sites.
Why was Clickimin built?
Clickimin Broch has been excavated several times, but several questions remain. We don’t know who built the broch, and whether it was designed as a defensive stronghold, or as a marker of its builder’s status. In reality, it may have fulfilled a combination of both functions.
We also don’t know the original form of the broch as it once stood – how many floors it had, what the roof was like or how the space was used. However, more complete examples of brochs such as Dun Carloway and Mousa can provide important clues.