An earlier tower house on the site of current Melville Castle was demolished when the present structure, designed in 1786–1791 by James Playfair for Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, was built.
The original tower house was owned by the Melville family, before passing to Sir John Ross in the 14th century. It subsequently changed hands with the attached lands several times and was sold to David Rannie in 1705. It then passed to Henry Dundas through his marriage to the daughter of David Rannie, Elizabeth Rannie.
The Castle was owned by the Dundas family until after the Second World War, when the ninth Lord Melville moved to a smaller house on the estate and the castle was leased as an army rehabilitation centre and then later as a hotel. By the early 1980s, the hotel fell into disrepair and was unoccupied. In the late 1980s, the estate and the adjoining farms were sold, but remained closed.
In 1993, the castle was bought by the Hay Trust, which extensively restored the property over 8 years. The castle was reopened as a hotel in June 2003, leased by Aurora Hotels. Their lease expired in January 2012. Today it still operates as a hotel and venue for weddings and continues ownership by the Hay Trust.References:
Monte d"Accoddi is a Neolithic archaeological site in northern Sardinia, located in the territory of Sassari. The site consists of a massive raised stone platform thought to have been an altar. It was constructed by the Ozieri culture or earlier, with the oldest parts dated to around 4,000–3,650 BC.
The site was discovered in 1954 in a field owned by the Segni family. No chambers or entrances to the mound have been found, leading to the presumption it was an altar, a temple or a step pyramid. It may have also served an observational function, as its square plan is coordinated with the cardinal points of the compass.
The initial Ozieri structure was abandoned or destroyed around 3000 BC, with traces of fire found in the archeological evidence. Around 2800 BC the remains of the original structure were completely covered with a layered mixture of earth and stone, and large blocks of limestone were then applied to establish a second platform, truncated by a step pyramid (36 m × 29 m, about 10 m in height), accessible by means of a second ramp, 42 m long, built over the older one. This second temple resembles contemporary Mesopotamian ziggurats, and is attributed to the Abealzu-Filigosa culture.
Archeological excavations from the chalcolithic Abealzu-Filigosa layers indicate the Monte d"Accoddi was used for animal sacrifice, with the remains of sheep, cattle, and swine recovered in near equal proportions. It is among the earliest known sacrificial sites in Western Europe.
The site appears to have been abandoned again around 1800 BC, at the onset of the Nuragic age.
The monument was partially reconstructed during the 1980s. It is open to the public and accessible by the old route of SS131 highway, near the hamlet of Ottava. It is 14,9 km from Sassari and 45 km from Alghero. There is no public transportation to the site. The opening times vary throughout the year.