Brochs

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that th ...
Founded: 500-200 BC | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Dun Carloway Broch

Dun Carloway is one of the best preserved examples of a broch towers in Scotland. Broch is a type of fortification found only in Scotland. There are well over 500 of them across the country, the majority in northern and western Scotland and the islands. Brochs emerged in the Iron Age around 2,300 years ago. They stopped being built in the early centuries AD. Brochs developed from strong circular houses into tall, imposin ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Midhowe Broch

Midhowe Broch is an iron-age structure situated on a narrow promontory between two steep-sided creeks, on the north side of Eynhallow Sound. The broch is part of an ancient settlement, part of which has been lost to coastal erosion. The broch got its name from the fact that it"s the middle of three similar structures that lie grouped within 500 metres of each other and Howe from the Old Norse word haugr meaning mound ...
Founded: 500-200 BC | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Jarlshof

Jarlshof is the best known prehistoric archaeological site in Shetland Islands. It lies near the southern tip of the Shetland Mainland and has been described as 'one of the most remarkable archaeological sites ever excavated in the British Isles'. It contains remains dating from 2500 BC up to the 17th century AD. The Bronze Age settlers left evidence of several small oval houses with thick stone walls and various artefact ...
Founded: 2500 BC | Location: Shetland, United Kingdom

Clickimin Broch

The Broch of Clickimin is a large and well preserved, though somewhat restored broch near Lerwick. Originally built on an island in Clickimin Loch (now increased in size by silting and drainage), it was approached by a stone causeway. The water-level in the loch was reduced in 1874, leaving the broch high and dry. The broch is situated within a walled enclosure and, unusually for brochs, features a large 'blockhouse' betw ...
Founded: 200-100 BC | Location: Lerwick, United Kingdom

Dun Telve

Dun Telve is one of the best preserved Iron Age brochs in Scotland. The neighbouring broch of Dun Troddan lies 470 metres to the east, and the 'semi-broch' known as Dun Grugaig is around 2.5 kilometres further east. Dun Telve is over 20m in diameter and the portion that still stands is about 10m high. Behind the narrow, west-facing entrance doorway, a 5m-long passage leads into the interior. Along the passage is a small ...
Founded: 100 BC - 100 AD | Location: Glenelg, United Kingdom

Mousa Broch

Broch of Mousa is the finest preserved Iron Age broch (round tower) in Shetland. It is the tallest still standing in the world and amongst the best-preserved prehistoric buildings in Europe. It is thought to have been constructed circa 100 BC, one of 570 brochs built throughout Scotland. The site is managed by Historic Scotland. It has one of the smallest overall diameters of any broch, as well as one of the thickest wal ...
Founded: 100 BC | Location: Sandwick, United Kingdom

Dun Troddan

Dun Troddan is one of the best preserved brochs in Scotland. It stands on a level rock platform north of the Abhainn a’Ghlaine Bhig, in the lower reaches of Gleann Beag. The neighbouring broch of Dun Telve lies 470 metres to the west, whilst the 'semi-broch' known as Dun Grugaig is around 2 kilometres to the southeast. Dun Troddan was first sketched in about 1720 when it was still an intact tower. It is t ...
Founded: 100 BC - 100 AD | Location: Glenelg, United Kingdom

Dun Beag

Dun Beag is an iron-age broch situated at the north end of a small rocky knoll. The broch consists of a drystone tower with a diameter of around 18.6 metres with walls about 4 metres thick at the base. The broch currently stands to a maximum height of 2 metres. The interior has a diameter of about 11 metres, and the entrance is on the east side. Internally three openings are visible in the broch wall. One leads to a smal ...
Founded: 200-300 BC | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Burroughston Broch

Burroughston Broch is an Iron Age structure located on the island of Shapinsay. Excavated in the mid 19th century, Burroughston Broch is still well-preserved. The drystone walls are up to four metres thick in some parts and there is a complete chamber intact off the entrance passage. Some remains of stone fittings are evident in the interior. The walls of Burroughston Broch have an external diameter of around 18 metres, ...
Founded: 500-200 BC | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Dun Dornaigil

Dun Dornaigil is an Iron Age broch in Sutherland. The broch has an external diameter of about 14.5 metres. The walls generally survive from 2 to 3 metres around the circumference of the broch, but above the doorway they rise to nearly 7 metres. The entrance is on the northeast side but is filled with debris.[1] There is a massive triangular lintel over the entrance which measures 1.4 metres along the base, and 0.9 metres ...
Founded: 300-0 BC | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Old Scatness Broch

Old Scatness is an archeological site consisting of medieval, Viking, Pictish, and Bronze Age remains. It has been a settlement for thousands of years, each new generation adding buildings, and leveling off old ones. A broch was discovered in 1975 and has been dated to 400-200 BC. The site is managed by the Shetland Amenity Trust. In the summer, costumed guides provide tours of the site and the replica Iron Age and Pictis ...
Founded: 400-200 BC | Location: Shetland, United Kingdom

Carn Liath

Càrn Liath is an Iron Age broch on the eastern shore of the Scottish Highlands. The broch has an external diameter of around 19 metres and an internal diameter of around 10 metres. The entrance passage is on the east side and is over 4 metres long. The entrance has elaborate door checks and a bar-hole to control access to the interior. On the right-hand side of the entrance passage is a small guard cell. The surrou ...
Founded: 300 BC | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Broch of Borwick

The Broch of Borwick is an Iron Age living structure. It has an external diameter of 17 metres and an internal diameter of 8 metres. The walls which are 3.5 to 5 metres thick currently stand to a maximum height of 2.6 metres. The eastern half of the broch and the entrance passage are well preserved, but the western half has been destroyed by erosion. The entrance passage, which is still lintelled over, is 5.6 metres long ...
Founded: 500-200 BC | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Dun Mor Vaul

Dun Mor Vaul (or simply Dun Mor) is an iron-age broch situated on a rocky knoll on the northern coast of island of Tiree. The broch consists of a drystone tower with an internal diameter of 9.2 metres with walls about 4.5 metres thick. The outer face of the wall survives to a maximum height of 2.2 metres. The entrance is on the southeast side. On the north side of the entrance passage is a small side-chamber, of a type us ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Isle of Tiree, United Kingdom

Caisteal Grugaig

Caisteal Grugaig is an Iron Age broch standing on a small rocky knoll on a grassy slope. The 'Glenelg Brochs' of Dun Telve and Dun Troddan are a few miles to the south. Caisteal Grugaig should not be confused with the 'semi-broch' known as Dun Grugaig which is also near Glenelg. The broch has an external diameter of around 16.5 metres and an internal diameter of around 9.6 metres. The broch was built on uneven ground, so ...
Founded: 100 BC - 100 AD | Location: Lochalsh, United Kingdom

Dun an Sticir

Dun an Sticir is an Iron Age broch situated approximately 9.5 kilometers north of Lochmaddy in a lake on North Uist. A building was erected on the site in the late-medieval period. Dun an Sticir was probably built in the Iron Age in the period between 100 BC and 100 AD, like most brochs. Limited excavations resulted in finds of pottery. The broch was probably inhabited during the Viking period. In the Middle Ages the bro ...
Founded: 100BC - 100AD | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Crosskirk Broch

Crosskirk Broch was a fortification near the present day hamlet of Crosskirk. After thorough archaeological exploration it was destroyed in 1972 since the site had become unsafe due to sea erosion. The site was unusual in having a broch, a large circular fortification, built within an older promontory fortification with a ring wall and blockhouse. Crosskirk was occupied at the end of the Bronze Age. From the early Iron A ...
Founded: 200 BC | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Culswick Broch

Culswick Broch is an unexcavated coastal broch, an Iron Age drystone hollow-walled structure. Built of striking red stone, it has beautiful views all around, including Foula and Vaila isles, and Fitful Head and Fair Isle in the south. The broch stands commandingly on the top of a massive rock platform and is about 3 metres high at its tallest point. Much rubble has fallen into the centre. This broch has a massive triangul ...
Founded: | Location: Shetland, United Kingdom

Dun Ardtreck

Dun Ardtreck is a D-shaped dun, or 'semi-broch', situated on a rocky knoll on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. It encloses an area of about 13 by 10 metres. It was constructed with a ruidmentary hollow-wall. The entrance is particularly well-preserved with door-checks characteristic of brochs. The entrance to a guard cell led off to the right behind the door-checks. Dun Ardtreck was excavated by Euan W. ...
Founded: 115 BC | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.