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Howe Of Langskaill

Broch (Iron Age)(Possible)

Site Name Howe Of Langskaill

Classification Broch (Iron Age)(Possible)

Alternative Name(s) Round Howe

Canmore ID 3022

Site Number HY50NW 8

NGR HY 5078 0591

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/3022

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

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish St Andrews And Deerness
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY50NW 8 5078 0591.

(HY 5078 0593) Round Howe (NAT).

OS 6" map, Orkney, 2nd ed., (1903).

'A hillock through which a road has lately been taken ..'

Name Book 1880.

'Broch, probable, Howe of Langskaill, Tob ... The remains of the structure, now almost entirely destroyed, are cut in two by the branch road to Whey Geo ... They were examined many years ago by Farrer & Petrie, and pronounced to be those of a broch, estimated to have measured from 40 to 45ft in diameter externally, and from 20 to 28ft internally, the wall thickness being apparently from 8 to 10ft. (J Anderson 1878 and G Petrie notebook No.13, 112-14, 119, 123). The entrance to the broch, 2ft wide, was found on the east-north-east, but the structure otherwise seems to have been in a very ruinous condition, and no complete plan was available. The main building had been surrounded at an interval of from 66 to 78 ft by an embankment or wall, some indications of which are shown on the OS 6" map. No report giving the full results of the investigation appears to have been published. This site must not be confused with No. 638 (HY51SW 1). Also known as the Howe of Langskaill and so marked on the OS map.' (but the authority notes that we call this 'Round Howe').

RCAHMS 1946.

'The Orkney Herald' reported the excavation of this site in July 1862.

The remains of this probable broch are now so greatly mutilated that it cannot now be recognised as such. The outer embankment has been dug away in the north but is fairly well defined for the remainder of the circumference.

There appears, on the north side, to be an inner bank 11.0m wide and 11.0m away from the outer bank; but this inner bank may be spoil from the central structure.

Re-surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (RD) 13 April 1964.

HY 510 060 GSB Prospection was commissioned to carry out geophysical survey, utilising magnetometry, at four sites in the vicinity of Minehowe in August 2001 (see DES 2000, 65-66).

HY 508 059 At Round Howe strong magnetic responses coincided with the central broch mound and possible activity areas between the broch itself and its surrounding earthworks.

Report lodged with Orkney SMR and the NMRS.

Sponsors: Orkney Islands Council, Orkney Archaeological Trust, Orkney College.

Editor's note: HS were a sponsor of the work at Minehowe in 2000.

N Card and J Downes 2001

Round Howe (HY50NW 8) lies 300m to the SW of Mine Howe. Since its 19th-century investigations by Farrer and Petrie, this site has been considered to be a broch. Although the central structure, recorded by Petrie, was removed by road construction in the late 19th century, the surrounding oval enclosure, defined by a large bank, has survived. Excavation was intended to explore the nature of the site and its possible links with Mine Howe. Four large slot trenches were opened across the enclosure and bank. The bank was shown to be of single-phase construction of redeposited natural boulder clay. No prehistoric structures were located within the enclosure between the bank or upon the remains of a central natural knoll where the 'broch' was presumed to stand. At the base of the knoll, however, a large ditch, c 5m wide by 1.5m deep, was encountered in two trenches. The limited number of finds from the whole site - only a few sherds of Iron Age pottery and some stone tools - and the lack of general settlement evidence, is not characteristic of a broch site. A detailed contour survey of the site was also conducted.

Archive to be deposited in Orkney SMR and the NMRS.

Sponsors: HS, Orkney Islands Council, Orkney Archaeology Trust, Orkney College, University of Sheffield

N Card and J Downes 2002

Activities

Antiquarian Observation (1860 - 1870)

Loose drawings of sites in Orkney and Shetland in the Society of Antiquaries Collection (SAS 487), mainly by George Petrie.

Antiquarian Observation (1862 - 1870)

Drawings by George Petrie of sites in Orkney and Shetland in sketchbook MS 28/487/7 in the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Collection.

Publication Account (2002)

HY50 5 HOWE OF LANGSKAILL (‘Round Howe’)

HY/50780593

Probable broch in St. Andrews and Deerness, on a hillock 200 m NW of the farm of that name; the remains have been cut in two by the road and there is little to be seen now. It was dug into in about 1860 by Farrer and planned by G. Petrie [3].

The building is recorded as having been rather small, 12.2 - 13.7 m (40-45 ft.) in overall diameter and 6.1 - 8.5 m (20-28 ft.) internally (Petrie’s plan indicates 12.09 m with the wall 3.05 m thick [5]). The wall was from 20.0 - 25.0 m (8-10 ft.) thick [4], and an entrance 60 cm (2 ft.) wide was found on the east-north-east. At first sight the whole building seems to have been very ruinous but Hedges suggests that the difficulty Petrie had in understanding what Farrer had partly exposed may be because only the top few cm of a structure still standing about 4.27m high was uncovered [5]. An outer embankment or wall surrounded the broch at a distance of 20.0 - 24.0 m (66-78 ft.).

Sources: 1. OS card HY 50 NW 8: 2. Anderson 1878, 318: 3. Petrie 1890, 93, no. 13: 4. RCAHMS 1946, 2, 243, no. 627: 5. Hedges et al. 1987, 79-80 and pls. 3.7 and 3.8 (ms sketch plan of broch and general plan, by Petrie): 6. Lamb 1987, 23.

E W MacKie 2002

Orkney Smr Note

'Another of these tumuli stands near the centre of the parish. It is of a truncated conical form, hollowed at the top, 90 yards around the base, and 16 feet in height. It appears to have been surrounded by a mound at a distance of 20 yards from the base, but has not been opened within the memory of man.' [R1]

Cut in two by branch road . Excavated by Farrer and Petrie. External diameter 40 - 45 feet, internal 20 - 28 feet. Entrance ENE. Complete plan not obtained, condition very ruinous. Had been surrounded at from 66 to 78 feet out, by an embankment or wall. Apparently no full publication. [R2]

Remains mutilated, unrecognizable as a broch. Outer bank dug away in N, fairly well defined for remainder of circumference. Possible inner bank on N, 11 meters wide and 11 meters from outer bank, but this may be excavation soil. OS visit Apr 1964

The outworks remain clear enough, and their form suggests that the central feature was a broch, but this is certainly not evident from the remains of the central feature itself. Recently-dug drainage ditches in the field W of the road (containing the larger portion of the site) suggests that land improvement, threatening the site, may be contemplated.RGL Apr 1979

A tree plantation now obscures the W side of the road.

Site is probably related to Minehowe, OR 63

HY 510 060 GSB Prospection was commissioned to carry out geophysical survey, utilising magnetometry, at four sites in the vicinity of Minehowe in August 2001 (see DES 2000, 65-66).

HY 508 059 At Round Howe strong magnetic responses coincided with the central broch mound and possible activity areas between the broch itself and its surrounding earthworks.

Report lodged with Orkney SMR and the NMRS.

Sponsors: Orkney Islands Council, Orkney Archaeological Trust, Orkney College.

Editor's note: HS were a sponsor of the work at Minehowe in 2000.

N Card and J Downes 2001

Round Howe (HY 50 NW 8) lies 300m to the SW of Mine Howe. Since its 19th-century investigations by Farrer and Petrie, this site has been considered to be a broch. Although the central structure, recorded by Petrie, was removed by road construction in the late 19th century, the surrounding oval enclosure, defined by a large bank, has survived. Excavation was intended to explore the nature of the site and its possible links with Mine Howe. Four large slot trenches were opened across the enclosure and bank. The bank was shown to be of single-phase construction of redeposited natural boulder clay. No prehistoric structures were located within the enclosure between the bank or upon the remains of a central natural knoll where the 'broch' was presumed to stand. At the base of the knoll, however, a large ditch, c 5m wide by 1.5m deep, was encountered in two trenches. The limited number of finds from the whole site - only a few sherds of Iron Age pottery and some stone tools - and the lack of general settlement evidence, is not characteristic of a broch site. A detailed contour survey of the site was also conducted.

Archive to be deposited in Orkney SMR and the NMRS.

Sponsors: HS, Orkney Islands Council, Orkney Archaeology Trust, Orkney College, University of Sheffield

N Card and J Downes 2002

References

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