AN impressive Lego broch designed to look like a model of a world heritage Iron Age roundhouse, planned for Caithness to bring its prehistoric legacy back to life, is set to be unveiled.

The model, commissioned by the Caithness Broch Project to help educate schoolchildren during the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, is now complete and it is expected to be revealed in a special exhibition at the Caithness Horizons Museum mid-July.

The Caithness Broch Project team were so impressed by previous models created by Scottish firm Brick to the Past – which specialises in creating detailed and meticulously researched, historically themed Lego models – that they asked them to make a Lego broch.

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The project, backed by The National as media partner, needs about £1 million of funding to recreate a 13m-high drystone tower with 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.

Caithness has more than 180 brochs, more than anywhere else in Scotland, but most of them have been left to crumble and only remnants remain.

Kenneth McElroy, chairman of the Caithness Broch Project, said: “The Lego broch will be unveiled mid-July when the exhibition is ready. The Lego broch is in the museum just now but it won’t be open to the public until we’ve got the exhibition ready. It is a work in progress.

“We will be doing broch workshops in association with Caithness Horizons in September. We will be taking schoolkids to the museum to show them the Lego broch and run some ancient crafts workshops. We will also be making a mini broch village out of papier mache as well as making a broch using Minecraft.”

Hundreds of people all over Scotland and across the globe have signed up to become members of this exciting project to help promote and preserve the area’s historic structures and it’s all going according to plan.

The project has just secured £22,000 in grants towards an archaeology festival which involves a series of investigations at two world-famous brochs that will take place some time in August.

The team has been awarded £10,000 from the Caithness North Sutherland Fund, £6000 from the Baillie Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund, and £6000 from the Tannach and District Wind Farm Charitable Trust.

McElroy said: “The festival is scheduled to commence in August with a launch event in Caithness Horizons. The festival programme will offer hands-on training in field archaeology through a number of archaeological events and doing geophysics at two broch sites – Thing’s Va Broch near Thurso and Bruan Broch near Lybster – to understand what the structure is like underneath them. It is a non-intrusive type of archaeology.

“They are really important brochs but we will be doing test pitting outside the monument area. The thing about Things Va is that is possibly has some connections with Vikings so hopefully we’ll find something connected to its Viking past.

“The festival will involve local schools and the wider community, providing participants with archaeological training that will encompass the whole archaeological recording process – from finding objects in field-walking, to mapping, processing and reporting.”