What came before castles?

Before castles were built in Scotland, people built different types of shelters to keep warm and dry. Some shelters were also built to keep people or their things safe from attack.

Find out what types of buildings existed in Scotland before castles were built.

We call these early buildings fortifications. A fortification is a building, wall or fence used to keep people and places safe from attack.

Look through the slideshow to see different types of fortifications from across Scotland.

Early fortifications



A roundhouse is a circular house with a thatched roof and walls made from local material.

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Even though these fortifications are very old you can still see evidence or where they were and what they looked like today.

Look through the slideshow. Try comparing the ruins you can see now with what they must have been like hundreds or thousands of years ago.

Early fortifications in Scotland

One of the ancient roundhouses excavated at Skara Brae, Orkney, Scotland

Roundhouse at Skara Brae

Some ancient roundhouses have been found in the ground at Skara Brae, Orkney. They are about 5000 years old but you can still see some of the furniture and where they kept a fire burning.

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