ONE of Scotland’s iconic brochs has been reconstructed, but not in the way you might expect.

The 2000-year-old drystone tower – found exclusively in Scotland – has had a replica created, entirely out of Lego.

More than 10,000 bricks were used in a one-month process commissioned by the Caithness Broch Project. The new-look 40 centimetre-high broch has been unveiled as the showpiece of a spectacular new archaeological display as part of the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology – a celebration of Scotland’s intriguing history, impressive cultural heritage and fascinating archaeology at various exhibitions and events.

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The Caithness team aim to promote the archaeological heritage of Caithness – a county with more than 180 brochs – through several innovative projects.

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The conservation and consolidation of an existing broch at Ousdale is also a priority, along with an archaeological “festival” in August, which will give the local community the opportunity to take part geophysical survey and small-scale excavation.

Caithness Broch Project’s Kenneth McElroy is hopeful that projects such as the Lego structure can bring the cause to a wider audience.

He expressed his delight with a “fantastic piece of work” yet had to admit that “it’s been very hard to resist playing with it!” as he thanked “Santander’s Discovery Foundation for making this broch possible”.

“We hope that the Lego broch will encourage people to learn more and enjoy Caithness’ fascinating and under-investigated archaeological past,” he added.

“Projects like this are great ways to introduce people to subjects such as history and archaeology, making them seem accessible to everyone even though they are traditionally thought of as dry and dull subjects for academics only.

“But recently, organisations and projects such as ours, in conjunction with museums, are beginning to change that outlook and put the subjects in a positive light – archaeology and history are for everybody.”

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Gradually, McElroy believes the community is recognising the importance of such projects to the promotion of the area. “The local people generally are supportive of the project, as they like seeing Caithness celebrate its heritage and archaeology,” he said Ultimately, the team hope to construct a more realistic replica of an Iron Age broch, using authentic building techniques to create a new base for a dry stone workshop and tourist hub.

Caithness team members were inspired by the previous work of professional Lego builders James Pegrum and Dan Harris from Brick to the Past, who were enlisted to assemble the replica.

Brick to the Past’s Dan Harris, who has also helped build other historical Lego dioramas including Hadrian’s Wall and Corgarff Castle, said the prospect of working on a broch replica was too good an opportunity to turn down.

“We love history,” he explained, “and believe that Lego offers a great way of engaging both young and old in the subject.

“So when Caithness Broch Project approached us we jumped at the chance to work with them.

“Because of the broch’s round but tapered shape, this is undoubtedly the most challenging model I have ever built, but it’s been a fascinating subject and great fun to make.”

History, archaeology and architecture enthusiasts can catch a glimpse of the impressive structure at the Caithness Horizons Museum until October 16, where it will form part of a wider exhibition discussing the Iron Age buildings.