A Broch is a round, Iron Age tower, which can be found in Scotland, where in particular in Caithness, but also on the offshore islands ( Orkney, Shetland and Hebrides ). In the southern part of the country Broch's are rare. However, there are the so-called Lowland brochs ( Broch of Castle Craig, Doon Castle, Edin 's Hall Broch of Tappoch ). Overall, the remains were found about 500 Broch so far. They are erroneously referred to as Pict 's houses or Pictish castles. Anna Ritchie holds for the final form of the development of the round houses of Scotland.

  • 2.1 Picture Gallery
  • 2.2 guard cell

Origin, distribution, creation

In the British Isles from the Neolithic round buildings are occupied until the Middle Ages. Most were built of wood and fell into disrepair. In the north of Scotland and the Scottish islands and was timber rare, while stone, was often already in use a form capable of, in quantities.

Before the Broch development reached its peak, there were in Scotland round houses. Oldest (after Calder The Potter's Workshop called ) stand at present, the round houses of Quanterness Calf of Eday and on Orkney. Its beginnings reach to 700 BC for the Broch in the "classic design " with double walled masonry Orkney (over 50 copies), Skye and the small island of Tiree are discussed as development centers. The earliest, secured by C14 dating Construction is based on current knowledge around 400 BC ( Scatnes Broch, Shetland). The longest, also by C14 dating secured well uninterrupted service life, dates back to the late eighth, possibly 9th century AD ( Howe, Stromness, Orkney ). However, the majority of the buildings built between 200 BC and 200 AD

In the as " older" Broch Broch discussed by Bu (also Bu Bu Broch or ), is dated to 600 BC, it is probably a representative of the " unclassical " construction, ie one without double walls in the rising floors, the typologically in the group of simple round houses, comparable Quanterness Calf of Eday and falls. However, there is no evidence on rising structures; Collapse traces such as in Howe were not found during the rescue excavation.

In Scotland, the proper name of the Broch connect often called " Dun ", while the term " Knowe " is quite often used to Orkney. Most of the more than 50 Broch in the Orkney Islands are located directly by the sea. Reason for this may be that delivered the outcrops of the cliff the building material.


John W. Hedges has 52 Broch determined in Orkney and 80 analyzed. Few have double walls. The additions have door locking and guard cells. At least 10 Orkney Broch have its own water supply (wells in the Broch of Breckness ). A special feature on Orkney is the occurrence of numerous outbuildings on a number of locations. The Lingro Broch on the outskirts of Kirkwall, was excavated by George Petrie in the 1870s. The associated " Brochdorf ", the largest of Orkney, was completely worn away.

Method of construction

The architecture of the Broch is complex. Typical are windowless towers of dry stone masonry, with 10 to 15 m in diameter and up to 15 m height. There are sporadically Broch with other proportions, such as the Broch of Gurness with 20 m and, known as the largest, Edin 's Hall with about 30 m outer diameter. With them one excludes the thickness of the walls still preserved, that they were 10 to 15 m high. The special feature of many Broch (apart from those of Orkney ) is the double wall, which contains in its space galleries, alcoves and stairs. Ground floor there is the narrow, tunnel-like access. We often find in this passage a guard cell. The ground floor often contains several radially arranged, T-shaped intramural galleries. While no hiss ceiling or platforms are preserved, but from the existing bar pads, wall paragraphs and the staircase approaches is closed ( Broch of Tirefour, Dun Bharabhat on Bernera ) that some Broch possessed a multi-storey interior design. In reconstruction drawings Broch are presented with conical wooden roofs; whatsoever roof structures are not busy.

Some brochs were built on the ruins of older buildings ( Broch of Borwick ). In the selection of the site apparently strategically favorable locations, such as hills or peninsulas were often preferred. In addition, they were often surrounded with ramparts and ditches. One finds Broch but also in positions in which military considerations had a rather small importance. Recent excavations have shown that at least possessed some of these systems has its own fresh water supply and sewers. Broch were also built on islands in lakes ( Dun Bragar ), which are connected with a causeway to the country.


One of the rare, built on an island Broch

Outer wall ( Dun Telve )

Entrance and wall residue ( Dun Telve )

Input ( Dun Telve )

Poster Dun Telve

Double wall ( Dun Telve )

Staircase ( Dun Troddan )

Guard cell

The guard cell is an intramural, located in the popular in Scotland Broch cell. It is built in a very similar form in Sardinian Nuraghe. The cell is usually the passage from accessible. The passages of the Broch have lengths between 3.5 and 5.5 m and are narrow and low. The tunnel-like passage from the outside to the interior.

Guard cells (german guard -cell ) received its name because early archaeologists regarded the cells in the aisle for the space of a doorman. Guard cells have different sizes, shapes and positions. Most are located right in the aisle ( Dun Telwe ), but there are also left-sided ( Dun Troddan ). Occasionally, they are completely absent (eg Broch of Bu or at many of the 110 Broch of Mousa Broch, such as the Shetland Islands ). Many of the passages are narrow and extend symmetrically outward and stepped into the middle of the wall by a few decimetres. This level is regarded as the stop for a closure device ( door). The often narrow access to the guard cell is always on the inside, so behind the ( closed ) door. Although Broch are Iron Age, could not iron fittings that are otherwise typical of doors to be found. Dùn Mòr ( Tiree ) has a round guard cell and, even at Borroughston on Shapinsay found, long bar or bolt hole for the no longer existing closure device. In Broch of Mousa is located in a narrow passage slot cell, just as wide and deep that a closure device could be inserted.

The small guard cell in the Broch of Cross Kirk, the oldest so far examined Broch, was accessible both from the hallway, as well as from a larger cell in the wall of. It also has a series of stages that are part of a staircase. This multifunctional cell combines all three of the traditional Broch elements that otherwise occur separately.

Function and use

Some Broch ( Broch of Midhowe, Gurness, Jarlshof, Clickhimin and others) were surrounded by other residential developments, some of which quite quickly below if not arisen at all at the same time, some clearly are more recent. In "The Broch of Shetland: recent controversies and new ideas" is Brian Smith with new insights about the Broch.


The Broch of Gurness at Evie was 200-100 BC, probably on the site of an earlier settlement. 1930 were uncovered in a the upcoming rock-cut, then lined chamber to which led down a stone staircase, and in which collected spring water. We now know that scotland far more than 30 similar facilities, which obviously secured the water supply.

Also in Jarlshof a Broch is surrounded by a partly much older settlement. To the Broch around can be found here Bronze Age houses, including one that had obviously been used by an Irish bronze smith, further Wheel Houses, Norman longhouses and a medieval farm, consisting of two parallel Langbauten. The entire facility was last modified significantly in 1605, when Patrick Stewart, Earl of Orkney, the scale of his father Robert manor extended, the Broch was partly built over. This mansion, the actual so named by Sir Walter Scott Jarlshof was from around 1675 again a ruin.

The best preserved of Mousa Broch of Mousa is on the small island, east of Mainland (Shetland Island). Originally it was about 15 m high with a diameter of 15.2 m. With the cantilever in two levels stone rings on the inside of the structure ( red lines) Mousa is also regarded as an example of very probable wooden interior fittings ( " galleries "), whose support beams for Fußboden-/Dachelemente on these corbels pads. At the same time, the spiral leading into the air stairs ( yellow lines ) can be between the two running in dry stone shells of the broch walls in the bearing interior wall, but not follow in the outer wall stronger executed in section ( see photo of the exterior view).

Other specimens are relatively well preserved Dun Dun Telve and Troddan in Inverness -shire and the Dun Carloway Broch on the Isle of Lewis.

Modern Broch

The working on the Hebridean island of Lewis architect Stuart Bagshaw designed in recent years, homes that are looking for their example in the Iron Age round houses. The Broch of Coigach imitate dilapidated, overgrown by grass Broch after. On the Hebridean island of Harris, he is building a 14 -meter-high Broch.