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' between the opening in the enclosure and the broch itself. Another unusual feature is a stone slab featuring sculptured footprints, located in the causeway which approached the site. Situated across the loch is the Clickimin Leisure Centre. The site is maintained by Historic Scotland.

According to its excavator Hamilton there were several periods of occupation of the site: Late Bronze Age farmstead, Early Iron Age farmstead, Iron Age fort period one (wall/blockhouse), Iron Age fort period two (plugging of the main entrance or landing stage), broch period, early wheelhouse settlement (inside the broch), late wheelhouse settlement (outside the broch). In 1989 Noel Fojut argued that Hamilton's schema was overcomplicated.

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Founded: 200-100 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in United Kingdom

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Martin Mcchesney (4 months ago)
Was lucky enough to arrive whilst a visit tour, was taking place, very interesting, and amazed at the broch.
Mary Freer (6 months ago)
Very tidy site within the environs of Lerwick ... apart from some thoughtless recently discarded litter. Well labelled.
Samantha Kelly (7 months ago)
I'd never heard of this type of fortified building before so being able to look around one that was quite so intact was a delight
Julian Adams (12 months ago)
First broch of the holiday and I found it really interested. Really.easy to find in Lerwick and quite well preserved. There's some debate of what it original and what has been rebuilt from previously 'borrowed' stones. We wondered round for a bit and the kids could crawl into a small tunnel that lead to a large bedroom or storeroom in the walls. No way was I going to fit!!
Agata Runowska-McMillan (15 months ago)
If you're visiting Lerwick, you should definitely visit this broch. The site is very well maintained and easy to walk around.
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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 there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.