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Hoy, Brims, The Skeo

Broch (Iron Age)(Possible), Fishing Station (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Implement(S) (Bone)

Site Name Hoy, Brims, The Skeo

Classification Broch (Iron Age)(Possible), Fishing Station (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Implement(S) (Bone)

Canmore ID 8922

Site Number ND28NE 3

NGR ND 2857 8796

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Walls And Flotta
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

ND28NE 3 2857 8796

'The remains of an ancient circular fort, having an underground passage communicating with a narrow creek of the sea immediately south of it, where boats could be pulled up. It would appear to have had an inner and outer circle and shows signs of considerable strength. Excavations were made some years ago (i.e. before 1880) by I G M Heddle Esq. of Melsetter and a number of bone implements and other antiquities were found.'

Name Book 1860

The much mutilated, turf-covered remains of a broch.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (NKB) 17 June 1967.

The broch crowns a rocky summit overlooking the sea. Not much of the broch tower itself is exposed other than a small portion of outer wall-face, but to N and W there is a substantial outer wall or bank, set 6m out from the broch and standing 1.2m high and 2m broad. To E and S this feature is absent but remains of outbuildings are obvious and extensive, spilling down the slope and occupying an area of 0.4 ha.

RCAHMS 1946; RCAHMS 1989, visited August 1987

ND 285 879 Cairn, denuded, prehistoric.

ND 285 879 Broch mound and associated structures, disturbed, prehistoric.

Sponsors: Historic Scoland, Orkney Archaeological Trust.

G Wilson and H Moore 1997.

Scheduled as 'The Skeo, Brims, Hoy... a prominent turf-covered mound with numerous outcrops of coursed and collapsed masonry; it also includes a substantial stone andturf bank that partially encircles the mound and an artificial stream crossing, where several large slabs have been laid across the burn. The monument appears to represent the remains of an Iron Age broch with an outer defensive work and outlying structures. The name implies that the monument also served as a fish curing station and some elements of the remains may date to this phase of use.'

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 9 January 2004.


Orkney Smr Note (August 1987)

A mound which has probably been a broch, despite the name which suggests an old fish-curing station. About 7ft 6in high x 60ft in diameter but no definite signs of entrance or walling. Over half an acre the ground is littered with stones from what must have been a substantial, though unidentifiable structure. Building may have been surrounded, at about 18 or 20ft, by a wall, best preserved in N and W. [R1]

'Excavations were made some years ago by J G M Heddle Esq of Melsetter, and a number of bone implements and other antiquities were found'. ONB 25 1880, p35

The Skeo, the heavily mutilated remains of a turf-covered broch, generally as RC are on slight eminence close to sea shore and easily accessible from it. Parts of a single course of masonry of the outer wall-face are visible on W side. Indications of several outbuildings to E of broch mound. OS visit 17 June 1967.

Generally as described. The outer bank or wall is on the N and W sides only some 6m from outer wall-face of broch is up to 1.2m high and 2m broad. But on E and S sides there is no apparent outer wall, but outbuildings are very extensive, spilling down the slope with no obvious outer demarcation, and the whole covering in all some 0.4ha.

Information from Orkney SMR (RGL) August 1987.

Field Visit (August 1997)

The site was investigated before 1880 by IGM Heddle Esq. of Melsetter. A quantity of bone implements and other antiquities were found (ONB 25, 35). It is now visible as a large artificial mound. It occupies a natural rise and stands up to 4m or so. The mound is amorphous and spreads extensively to the E and S sides, covering an area 100m by 80m. To the centre, lie the ruins of a broch, covered by collapsed rubble and debris. Structural remains are visible in small exposures, and in a larger erosion face to the seaward side of the mound. Anthropogenic soil deposits visible in these exposures contain inclusions of burnt and unburnt clay, pot sherds, peatash, worked stone, shell and bone. A series of sub-oval hollows, cut or worn into the debris which covers the broch, may represent post-broch settlement. A further series of hollows and level platforms to the SE side of the mound may represent the remains of up to three structures. The broch is partly surrounded by a defensive earthen and stone bank. This is most visible to the N side of the mound, where it stands up to 4m high, above the level of the surrounding land. A ditch on the inner side of the bank is now almost completely filled up. The outer side of the bank appears to have been further enhanced through scarping of the surrounding ground surface.

Moore and Wilson, 1997

Coastal Zone Assessment Survey

Publication Account (2002)

ND28 1 THE SKEO ND/286880

Probable broch in Walls and Flotta on Hoy, a mound some 2.29 m (7 ft. 6 in.) high standing in an exposed position near the coast. Parts of a single course of masonry of the outer face are visible on the west [1]. There are traces of a surrounding wall from 5.49 - 6.10 m (18-20 ft.) out and signs of numerous outbuildings [3].

Sources: 1. OS card ND 28 NE 3 (with sketch plan): 2. RCAHMS 1946, 2, 340, no. 1009: 3. Lamb 1989, 12.

E W MacKie 2002


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