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Yell, Burra Ness

Broch (Iron Age)

Site Name Yell, Burra Ness

Classification Broch (Iron Age)

Alternative Name(s) Broch Of Burra Ness

Canmore ID 1373

Site Number HU59NE 3

NGR HU 55727 95720

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Shetland Islands
  • Parish Yell
  • Former Region Shetland Islands Area
  • Former District Shetland
  • Former County Shetland

Archaeology Notes

HU59NE 3 55727 95720

(HU 5573 9573) Brough (OE)

OS 6" map, Shetland, 2nd ed., (1900).

A broch, now ruined and obscured by overgrown debris, except on the east where the wall still stands 14' high. The overall diameter has been about 60' and the wall is at least 15' thick, with a scarcement, and evidently contained a gallery 2' wide, while in the SE arc there are the ruins of a fairly large cell of oval shape. The position of the entrance could not be determined.

There appear to have been outbuildings on the north, south and south-east but these are too dilapidated to plan. Outside them, at an average distance of 94' from the broch, there are slight indications of an earthern rampart or ramparts, but it is not now possible to identify them with the original lay-out.

RCAHMS 1946.

As described

Visited by OS (RL) 11th May 1969.


Publication Account (2002)

HU59 1 BURRA NESS ('Brough of Burraness') HU/557957

Well preserved broch on the coast of Yell I., situated on flat ground near the tip of a promontory with rocky, though not sheer edges, and which shows signs of recent cultivation. A ruined farm stands close to the site and a field of corn grew up to the site in the 18th century [2]. The wall still stands 4.27 m (14 ft.) high on the east, but was 6.10 m (20 ft.) high there two centuries ago when the beginning of a bell-shaped profile was clearly visible [2, 149] (Illus. 4.143). The inner wall face is exposed and shows a clear ledge-type scarcement about 38 cm (15 ins.) wide as well as a mural gallery on the wallhead; Hibbert refers to two concentric walls [3]. The gallery here is at least 3.66 m (12 ft.) above the ground and must be an upper one. There are signs of a mural cell on the south-east but no trace of the entrance can be seen. There are traces of outbuildings towards the north, south and south-east, and slight indications of surrounding ramparts.

Dimensions: external diameter c. 18.3 m (60 ft.), wall c. 4.6 m (15 ft.) thick; wall proportion thus at least 50%.

Sources: 1. OS card HU 59 NE 3: 2. Low 1774, 148: 3. Hibbert 1822, 419: 4. Dryden 1890, 212: 5. RCAHMS 1946, vol. 3, no. 1716, 161.

E W MacKie 2002


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