Region : Orkney Home
Island : Rousay Map
Town or village : Westside List
Grid Reference : HY 371 306 Glossary
Period : 2nd century BC Bibliography

Midhowe broch image

This well preserved Iron Age broch was built on a promontory on the island of Rousay (Orkney), with its landward side massively defended by walls and ditches along with two natural inlets cutting into the rocky shore on its flanks.
The broch, unusually for Orkney, has a gallery at ground level, partly filled in during prehistoric times to avoid collapse. A long entrance-passage, with fittings for two doors, leads to the interior. A stairway within the wall's thickness leads to the top of the broch.
The interior is divided by large upright slabs into two rooms, both crowded with partitions, hearths, cells and alcoves. In the southern room, are a fine stone water-tank and, on either side of the hearth, two sockets for what may have been a roasting spit. Particularly noteworthy is the alcove just to the north of the entrance, formed by a large slab supporting a pier of dry-stone masonry.
Further buildings (in the photo's foreground) were built outside the structure. In origin these seem to have been simply houses, but later in the site's history they were taken over for use as workshops.
A lot of artefacts, bronze jewellery, bone and stone tools were found during excavations.
A hundred metres to the east is the much earlier Midhowe chambered cairn.
In care of Historic Scotland