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  Orkney's Brochs

The layout of the broch

The majority of Orkney's excavated brochs were "investigated" in the 19th century. Back then, the antiquarians were more interested in the artefacts that could be found, so little is known about how the brochs were constructed and developed over time.

More recent work, however, has clarified a number of points regarding broch layout.

In general, the broch's ground floor was laid out around a central hearth, cooking tank and water cistern, with the outer perimeter divided into different "rooms" by radial slab partitions. Spaces within the broch's hollow walls were also used as storage units or guard cells.

The upper floors of the broch, if indeed there were any, are thought to have been built as wooden galleries, overlooking the ground floor, rather than as a complete floor.

It has also been suggested that the broch itself was a mere shell, housing an internal wooden structure that formed the galleries, roof and dwelling areas.

External structures and settlements

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