IT is certainly an old design for a new home build. A £1m Iron Age roundhouse is set to be built in Caithness.

The reconstruction will use ancient methods that built similar mysterious structures in area.

The stone structure, known as a broch, is to be modelled on a similar building in Shetland constructed about 2,000 years ago.

One of many built in Scotland, the precise function of a broch is unknown but experts believe they were used as residences for clan chiefs as a symbol of their status and power.

Now only remnants remain at various sites around the country. Between 200 and 300 are thought to exist in Caithness, the highest number found in any Scottish region.

But an archaeological charity is pushing ahead with an ambitious plan to construct a full-size replica of an Iron Age broch.

Caithness Broch Project has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £5000 towards the £19,000 cost of the design brief.

Kenneth McElroy, director with Caithness Broch Project, said: "The project design brief document will help to inform and refine a number of points concerning the project - from architectural design to sustainability.

"It is a vital component in the development of our plan to build the first broch in Scotland in over 2,000 years."

Hoskins Architects, which has studios in Glasgow and Berlin, and Jura Consultants are working on the replica broch project.

To recreate the 13m-high house, around £1 million will need to be raised.

It will house replica furniture, such as stone beds lined with moss, a tourist centre and a neighbouring workshop where visitors will learn how the broch was created.

Local tradespeople skilled in Caithness drystone dyking methods are to be employed in the broch's construction, with building work estimated to take three years.

A site has now been chosen for the planned reconstruction.

The Caithness Broch Project, which was offered a number of possible sites for its replica, has selected one in John O'Groats.

The land is beside the John O'Groats Mill and the project team is working with the John O'Groats Mill Development Trust on the plan.

The Caithness Broch Project was set up to raise greater awareness of the Iron Age structures.

"Bone combs, painted pebbles, polished discs which might have been used as mirrors and a skull fragment with three holes drilled through have been found in Caithness brochs," said Mr McElroy previously.

"All these things point towards the idea brochs were used for domestic purposes. But to make the Caithness broch memorable to tourists we need to make it large. There are [replica] roundhouses popping up all over England and Scotland, so to give people a reason to visit Caithness we want to make this one impressive and iconic.

"Caithness had more brochs than anywhere else in Scotland. We don't know why, and this is something we would like to find out. Caithness has not been subject to a lot of archaeological investigation compared to places such as Orkney.

“We are hoping to encourage more understanding and knowledge, and eventually interest as well.”

Rebuilding a broch, using the same techniques as the original builders, the team hope it will provide an insight into how Iron Age people lived their lives in Caithness.

To find out more about the fundraiser, visit