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 or barrow.

The broch tower has an internal diameter of 9 metres within a wall 4.5 metres thick, which still stands to a height of over 4 metres. The broch interior is crowded with stone partitions, and there is a spring-fed water tank in the floor and a hearth with sockets which may have held a roasting spit.

The broch is surrounded by the remains of other lesser buildings, and a narrow entrance provides access into the defended settlement. The other buildings seem to have been built as adjacent houses, but later in the site’s history they were used as workshops, and one of these buildings still retains its iron-smelting hearth.

A short distance to the southeast is a large Neolithic chambered cairn known as Midhowe Chambered Cairn.

The broch and attendant buildings were excavated between 1930 and 1933 and then taken under guardianship. The excavations recovered stone and bone tools associated with grain-processing, spinning and weaving. Also found were pieces from crucibles and moulds associated with bronze-working. Also discovered was a fragment from a Roman bronze vessel.

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Address

B9064, Orkney, United Kingdom
See all sites in Orkney

Details

Founded: 500-200 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in United Kingdom

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ann-Ingeborg Floa Grindhaug (2 years ago)
This is a very big cairn, it looks like a farm building from the outside, but the inside will take your breath away, worth a visit!
Peter Asprey (2 years ago)
Well signed broch about 25nind walk from the road. Allow 30mins to explore and enjoy.
Edward Owens (2 years ago)
Wow, what a well preserved Broch in s truly stunning location. 2000 years of history. A great visit combined with the 5500 year old chambered cairn 100 yards away.
Kevin Boak (2 years ago)
Very interesting to explore the remains of this historic site in a picturesque location. However, you need to he quite able-bodied to cross the fields from the parking area. The gradient is steep and ground conditions uneven.
Mark Craig (2 years ago)
This is a really cool site! Definitely worth checking out. It takes a short hike to get there, and going back it's a steep, uphill hike. But, worth it. The coastal scenery around it is also stunning. Great place!
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