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Broch (Iron Age)

Site Name Clumlie

Classification Broch (Iron Age)

Canmore ID 909

Site Number HU41NW 4

NGR HU 4045 1811

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

HU41NW 4 4045 1811.

(HU 4043 1812) Brough (OE)

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

A broch, with later internal walling, which was part- ially excavted by Goudie in 1887, (G Goudie 1904) who also restored part of the walling. The overall diameter is 68' with a wall thickness of 17'-18'. The finding of a carefully constructed cist luted with clay and containing 'unctuous' matter, 2 1/2' above the floor of the broch led Goudie to the belief that the floor of the broch led Goudie to the belief that the structure had been used for interment after its collapse.

RCAHMS 1946, visited 1930 and 1934.

Broch, generally as described and planned. There is slight evidence of secondary buildings in the vicinity of the broch. No trace of the cist found by Goudie.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (RL) 18th May 1968.


Aerial Photography (October 1973)

Oblique aerial photographs of Clumlie broch, Shetland, photographed by John Dewar in 1973.

Publication Account (2002)


HU 404181 (visited 5/6/63)

Probable solid-based broch in Dunrossness, standing on a low rise on flat arable ground. Only the lower levels of this broch remain and modern buildings encroach upon the ruins. Clumlie was partially excavated by Goudie in 1887 and some of the objects recovered are illustrated in Ill. 4.58. Much of the west half of the site is hidden by a stone dyke and was not explored, but the entrance passage -- with door-checks made of up-right slabs set into the wall at 11 ft. from the exterior -- and a guard cell on the right behind these are visible. A mural cell at 7.30 o'clock is also apparent but the interior wall face is too broken down for any trace of a scarcement to be preserved. The outer wall face on the north-east was 7-8 ft. in 1934 but the upper courses were rebuilt at the time of the excavation [3] (Ills. 4.48-52).

The door to the guard cell is only 2 ft. 9 ins. high and makes a contrast with what must have once been a tall beehive cell behind. A secondary wall -- varying in thickness from 1-5 ft. -- runs round the interior of the broch and is of uneven thickness, being about 1 ft. at the main entrance and about 5 ft. on the west side.

The internal diameter of the structure was thereby reduced from 33-34 ft. to about 27 ft.. No mention was made of radial piers by the excavator but a hearth was found in the floor which presumably belonged to the secondary occupation. A carefully constructed gap in the secondary wall at 10.30 o'clock may have led to the original door to the stairway in the broch wall but there is no sign of this now. During the excavations Goudie found a well-built stone cist 2.5 ft. above the floor of the broch and concluded that the structure had been used for burials after falling into disuse [1].

Dimensions: the overall diameter is 68 ft. and the wall is 17-18 ft. thick, giving a wall proportion of 51.5%.

Finds: these included "a large number of grain rubbers" and a photograph [3, 28] shows at least one rotary quern. Other finds were 5 whetstones of micaceous stone, 2 of sandstone, 3 whorls (1 of schist, 2 of steatite) and several hammer stones. There were also many pottery fragments and animal bones, shells and stone implements as well as a fragment of a painted Roman bowl (Ill. 4.58).

Sources: 1. OS card HU 41 NW 4: 2. Goudie 1889, 249-53: 3. Goudie 1904, 21-9: 3. RCAHMS 1946, vol. 3, no. 1145, 15-6 and fig. 487 (plan).

E W MacKie 2002


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