- Broch of Gurness - Broch | 2024 Archive

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Broch of Gurness - Mainland, Orkney
National Grid Reference: HY 381 268

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How To Get There

Get on to the A966 at Finstown and follow it north for around 8 miles. Turn off right at the sign to the site and follow the minor road to the car park. There is a small but informative visitor centre and a charge is made for admittance. A combined ticket is available saving you money if you are going to visit The Broch of Gurness, Maes Howe, Skara Brae and the Earl's and Bishop's Palaces in Kirkwall (recommended).

The Broch Of Gurness

This is one of two excavated brochs that I visited on the Orkney Islands, the other being Midhowe Broch on the island of Rousay.

The Broch of Gurness was discovered by Orcadian poet Robert Rendall in 1929. He had been sitting on a mound at the headland of Aiker Ness, painting, when one leg of his stool sank into a hole. Upon taking a closer look (with a shovel) Rendall discovered a narrow set of stairs leading down between two solid walls. A full excavation was undertaken over the following years, but a proper report was never produced thanks to the outbreak of World War II in 1939.

Inside the broch at Gurness.

The broch at Gurness is around 20 metres in diameter and is thought to have stood to a height of 8 to 10 metres. It is thought to have been built between 500BC and 200BC and was in use until some time after 100AD.

As at Midhowe, there are the remains of a village surrounding the tower of the broch. Also, just near the visitor centre are the remains of a later Pictish farmstead. This was discovered partially built into the mound of the broch and was rebuilt at the present location during excavation of the broch.

Nearby Sites

Related Sites

Midhowe Broch




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This prehistoric site has been rescued for historical reasons by History X's archive