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Broch (Iron Age)(Possible)

Site Name Southvoe

Classification Broch (Iron Age)(Possible)

Canmore ID 916

Site Number HU41SW 2

NGR HU 4003 1472

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

HU41SW 2 4003 1472.

(HU 4001 1473) Brough (OE) (Site of)

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

The grass-covered remains of a broch. Only very fragmentary traces of the main building can now be identified, but these indicate that it was entered from the SW through a passage, three lintel stones of which still remain in position. The internal diameter is about 27' and the wall is about 15' thick at the entrance. Excavation would probably reveal at least 6 or 7' of structure still standing on the seaward side, where the mound is highest. To the westward side the remains are low and merge into the sloping hillside, while beyond them are traces of numerous out-buildings. The remains of a wall are visible all along the edge of the cliff. A good harbour for small craft, easily accessible from the broch, is found by a narrow lane of water almost immediately in front of the broch.

RCAHMS 1946, visited 1930.

As described by the RCAHMS.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (NKB) 18 May 1968.


Aerial Photography (October 1973)

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

Publication Account (2002)



A probable broch in Dunrossness, standing near the edge of cliffs and in a dilapidated condition. Few of the structural features can be made out. The entrance passage is on the SW and has three lintel stones in position. The internal diameter is about 27 ft. and the wall about 15 ft. thick: thus the wall proportion may be about 52.6%. There is a possible opening in the inner wall face in the inner wall face in the north segment. There are numerous traces of outbuildings and a good natural harbour is close by.

Sources: 1. OS card HU 41 SW 2: 2. RCAHMS 1946, vol. 3, no. 1142, 23-4.

Field Visit

The broch stands on a broad platform or raised area, surrounded by the remains of at least six other buildings. These structures are not clearly defined and are largely visible as shallow depressions. They have been described individually below, but it is probable that some may originally have been conjoined. There are indications that the settlement was surrounded by a curvilinear enclosure bank. (i) The grassy broch mound is located on the coast edge. It is about 15m in diameter and survives to a height of about 2.5m. Some stonework is visible in a series of small exposures which are located towards the base of the broch on the NW side. (ii) To the SE side of the broch, an oval structure is eroding from the coast edge. Visible as a slight depression with portions of coursed walling exposed, it measures 3m in width and survives to a length of 6m. (iii) To the SW side of the broch, a second structure has a subrectangular or oval form. It measures 5m by 6m and is defined by a slight earthen bank with occasional stones protruding. (iv) A poorly defined circular structure, 6m in diameter, is located to the W side of the broch. (v) A circular structure lying between structures (iii) and (iv) is visible as a shallow depression 6m in diameter. Remnants of an internal stone facing survive. (vi) To the NNW side of the area, a circular structure visible as a shallow depression measures 6m in diameter. (vii) An oval structure lies to the N side of the area. It measures 6m in length by 3m in width and is visible as a shallow depression.

Visited by Scotland's Coastal Heritage at Risk (SCHARP)


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