Tappoch Broch

(Torwood Broch)

Occupying a prominent hill-top location within the Tor Wood in the N of Falkirk Council Area, Tappoch Broch (also Torwood Broch) is situated a half-mile (0.8 km) west of the village of Torwood and comprises an Iron-Age dwelling which represents one of the best preserved of the Lowland brochs. Dating from around 500 BC, the structure comprises a round stone-built chamber with a hearth in the centre and a narrow entrance passage in the southeast. The central chamber is 10m (33 feet) in diameter, while the walls are 6.1m (20 feet) in thickness. A stair within the walls would once have provided access to upper levels. It is thought that the broch was a defensive structure which rose to several storeys and had a small settlement lying adjacent which was used in more peaceful times. Guarded to the west by a steep slope, the broch is protected by two parallel earthen banks on its other approaches. It was probably abandoned around the time the Romans became active in the area.

The site was excavated in 1864 by Colonel Joseph Dundas of Carronhall, who thought it to be a burial mound. The existence of the broch came as a surprise once almost 200 tons of rubble had been excavated. Several finds were unearthed, including a stone cup, querns, hollowed pebbles (which may have been used as lamps), stone balls and pottery sherds. These are held by the Museum of Scotland and the Falkirk Museums Service.

Its vicinity to several sizeable settlements ensures the site receives many visitors and it has suffered considerable denudation since it was uncovered.

A former Roman road passes a short distance to the west, while Torwood Castle lies a half-mile (0.8 km) to the south southeast.

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