Dates: 300s


Whalebone post sockets from the broch at Vaul

Photograph of whalebone post sockets from the broch at Vaul.


Courtesy of Mr Nicholas Redman

These whale vertebrae, photographed by Nicholas Redman in 2003, are two of the four excavated from Dùn Mòr at Vaul by Dr. Euan Mackie in the early 1960s and now stored at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow.

The vertebrae were positioned two on each side of the rectangular hearth set in the centre of the floor of the broch. They had been perforated in the middle and doubtless used as post sockets. The best preserved vertebrae would have held an 8 cm thick post.

Situated too close to the hearth to be roof supports, the posts were probably used to support some sort of roasting spit or a frame for a cooking cauldron.

Three black and white photographs of whale vertebrae from Dun Mor, Vaul.

Whalebone post sockets excavated from Dun Mor, Vaul, by Dr Euan MacKie in the 1960s and now stored at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow. (2 photographs not displayed in Filing Cabinet 8 drawer 2)


Book `Scotland: An Archaeological Guide` by Euan W. MacKie.

Scotland`s history and archaeology from earliest times to the 12th century A.D. Geographical arrangement of major sites with Tiree`s Dun Mor Vaul broch pp. 159 – 160.