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Orkney Smr Note

Event ID 619724

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Orkney Smr Note


Broch situated half a mile NNW of Aikerness farm and three-

quarters of a mile ENE of Evie pier. Erosion has removed the

Northern section of the earth works and part of the stone built


Various periods of occupation are evident; the buildings of

the broch period representing three distinct phases.

In the first arrangement there was a tower of the usual broch

form and a construction standing on a circular platform, margined

by a rampart wall. Later the remains of the tower were re-

adjusted and a complete rebuilding of the platform area.

Following this ditches were filled in and a new ground was

formed. Domestic buildings were raised using old materials. The

latest domestic structures were of early Viking age.

Main dimentions:

Platform - approximately 132ft diameter.

Tower - outer diameter 63ft, interior diameter 34ft.

Well - 14ft deep. Bastion walls 8ft-10ft high.

Great Ditch - 8ft-17ft wide, middle ditch 5ft-6ft wide.

Outer Ditch - 8ft-15ft wide. Tranverse 30ft wide.

A large collection of relics was found including pottery,

iron, bone objects and old stones of various types.


The Broch of Gurness stands on the tip of a promontory known

as Aikerness on the E coast of the mainland.

Excavations began in 1929, gradually revealing a broch and a

complex of later buildings. Gurness was built with a thick stone

base to the tower, which enabled the walls to rise to a

considerable height.

The broch was encircled by three lines of ditch and rampart

with an entrance causeway at the E. The date of erection is

unknown but possibly could have been in the 1st Century BC.


9th Century AD - Cist BC. - One of the buildings is an

excellent example of a Pictish House, with five cells around a

central living room and another is a large oblong house.

Coastal erosion has destroyed the Northern most part of the


The original design included a rectangular hearth and steps

leading down to a subterranean water tank fed by a spring both of

which still survives. [R3]

Full and detailed account of excavation with photos, plans

and general description. [R4]

Information from Orkney SMR [n.d.]

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