Scheduled Monument

South Howe, broch, Westside, RousaySM1425

Status: Designated

Documents

Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (https://portal.historicenvironment.scot/termsandconditions).

The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.

Summary

Date Added
16/12/1935
Last Date Amended
27/05/2014
Type
Prehistoric domestic and defensive: broch; settlement (if not assigned to any more specific type), Secular: Viking settlement, Norse settlement
Local Authority
Orkney Islands
Parish
Rousay And Egilsay
NGR
HY 37274 30377
Coordinates
337274, 1030377

Description

The monument is a substantial broch mound mainly of Iron Age date (between about 600 BC and AD 400), together with associated and later settlement, including Late Norse buildings (11th-13th century AD). The mound is roughly circular in plan, approximately 19m in diameter, and stands up to 1.7m high. There are surface indications of external defensive ditches and banks. The W side of the mound has suffered some coastal erosion, with the loss of part of the broch wall (around one-eighth). The surviving broch walls visible in section are 4.2m wide at the base, narrow to 3.9m at their highest point, and stand up to 2.5m high. A considerable quantity of structural remains and archaeological midden material is eroding out of the cliff section on either side of the broch: altogether, the settlement stretches some 100m along the shoreline. Some of these structures are likely to be the remains of an associated broch village or post-broch settlement dating from the first millennium AD. Subsequently the site was colonised by the Norse, represented by the remains of Late Norse buildings. The upper layers of the mound include 19th-century middens testifying to use of the site into relatively recent times: the abandoned farmstead of Brough lies immediately adjacent to the E. The monument is located right on the cliff edge, in an area of unimproved ground at around 10m above sea level. The broch is situated 440m SSE of North Howe broch and 250m SSE of Mid Howe broch. The Late Norse buildings lie some 780m NNW of the excavated Norse hall at Westness. The site has extensive views to the E and S toward Eynhallow Sound. The monument was first scheduled in 1935, but the documentation did not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction and use is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling extends up to, but specifically excludes, the walls of the abandoned farmstead of Brough to the E. The scheduling also excludes the above-ground elements of interpretation panels forming part of the Westness Trail.

Statement of National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular of Iron Age society in Orkney, the function, use and development of brochs and associated settlements, and societal changes as a result of the Norse colonisation of earlier sites. Despite the loss of part of the site to coastal erosion, this is an impressive example of a large broch mound in an exceptionally rich archaeological landscape. It is evident from the cliff section that the broch retains its structural characteristics to a marked degree. The site as a whole clearly has a complex development sequence: the broch may also overlie earlier remains and the mound certainly includes evidence for later re-use of the site, including in the Late Norse period and subsequently. Its importance is enhanced because it is one of three substantial brochs and broch mounds in close proximity along this stretch of coast in Rousay and there is high potential to study the relationship between them. The monument is part of a wider landscape of prehistoric and early medieval remains in this part of Rousay, which contains an exceptional concentration of archaeological sites and is an important source of evidence for social and economic change in northern Scotland over several millennia. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the development, use and reuse of brochs, the nature of Iron Age society, economy and social hierarchy in Orkney and further afield, the impact of Norse colonisation and subsequent developments. It would also be a significant loss from an exceptionally important archaeological landscape in Rousay.

References

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as HY33SE 10.

References

Armit, I 2003, Towers of the North: The Brochs of Scotland, Tempus.

Armit, I 2005, 'Land-holding and inheritance in the Atlantic Scottish Iron Age'. In Turner, V E, Dockrill, S J, Nicholson, R A and Bond, J M (eds) 2005, Tall Stories? Two Millennia of Brochs, Shetland Amenity Trust: Lerwick, 129-143.

Ballin Smith, B (ed) 1994, Howe, Four Millennia of Orkney Prehistory, Edinburgh, Soc Antiq Scot Monogr Ser 9.

Ballin Smith, B 2005, 'Orcadian brochs ' complex settlements with complex origins'. In Turner, V E, Dockrill, S J, Nicholson, R A and Bond, J M (eds) 2005, Tall Stories? Two Millennia of Brochs, Shetland Amenity Trust: Lerwick, 66-77.

Dockrill, S J, Bond, J M, Downes, J, and Mainland, I L 2010, 'The Mound of Brough, the Ditch NE of Midhowe and the Knowe of Swandro, Orkney (Rousay and Egilsay parish), evaluation and excavation', Discovery Excav Scot, New, vol 11, 123-4.

Dockrill, S J, Bond, J M, Downes, J, and Mainland, I L 2011, 'The Mound of Brough, the Ditch NE of Midhowe and the Knowe of Swandro, Orkney (Rousay and Egilsay parish), evaluation', Discovery Excav Scot, New, vol 12, 136-137.

Hedges, J 1987, Bu, Gurness and the Brochs of Orkney: Parts I, II and III, Brit Archaeol Rep Brit Ser, vols 163-165.

Hunter, J 2007 Investigations in Sanday, Orkney, volume 1: Excavations at Pool, Sanday - A Multi-Period Settlement from Neolithic to Late Norse Times, Orcadian Ltd.

Lamb, R G 1980, Iron Age Promontory Forts in the Northern Isles, Brit Archaeol Rep Brit Ser, vol 79.

Mackie, E W 2002, The Roundhouses, Brochs and Wheelhouses of Atlantic Scotland c. 700 BC ' AD 500: Architecture and Material Culture, Part 1: The Orkney and Shetland Isles, Brit Archaeol Rep Brit Ser, vol 342.

RCAHMS, 1946, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Twelfth Report with an Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Orkney and Shetland, 3v, Edinburgh, 193, no 552.

Ritchie, J N G 1988, The Brochs of Scotland, Aylesbury: Shire.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at www.historicenvironment.scot.

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

Images

There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to South Howe, broch, Westside, Rousay

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 20/06/2024 13:07