Ancient Monuments

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Brough Geo, broch 135m east of Glan Y Mor

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland South, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 59.9156 / 59°54'56"N

Longitude: -1.2862 / 1°17'10"W

OS Eastings: 440018

OS Northings: 1114717

OS Grid: HU400147

Mapcode National: GBR R25J.HBG

Mapcode Global: XHD4H.N1JD

Entry Name: Brough Geo, broch 135m E of Glan Y Mor

Scheduled Date: 15 October 1975

Last Amended: 24 February 2012

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3737

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: broch

Location: Dunrossness

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland South

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument comprises a broch and adjacent structures of probable Iron Age date (between around 500 BC and AD 500), surviving as a series of upstanding walls and earthworks in a pasture field at 10m above sea level. It lies on a cliff, close to the coast. The monument was first scheduled in 1975, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The broch consists of a penannular wall with an entrance in the south, with three lintels visible. The broch itself measures around 15m in diameter across walls 3m wide. To the southwest are the footings of at least three roundhouses, which may be conjoined, each measuring around 6m in diameter.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. It is bounded on the east side by the cliff edge. The scheduled area extends up to, but excludes, the post-and-wire fence to the north, west and south of the monument.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is a good example of a broch and associated remains, dating to the Iron Age. The presence of roundhouse footings and other features outside the broch suggest that this is a complex, multi-phase monument, probably containing evidence for a long development sequence that may include reuse of the site after the abandonment of the broch. There is a high likelihood that archaeological deposits associated with the monument's construction, use and abandonment are well preserved below ground. These may allow future researchers to date this sequence of construction, occupation and reuse. In addition, the buried remains have considerable potential to enhance our understanding of the function of brochs in general and the daily lives of the people who occupied them. There is high potential for the presence of artefacts and environmental evidence that could illuminate the diet, economy and social status of the occupants and the extent to which this varied over time.

Contextual characteristics

This broch is one of around 200 in Shetland, which may have been occupied at around the same time. The site therefore retains the potential to enhance our understanding of the relationship between brochs, some of which may be contemporary, and with the wider landscape. Brochs have been viewed as having a defensive or offensive function, or simply as being the prestige dwellings and farms of an elite strata in society, keen to display its status. The remains at South Voe retain the potential to provide insight into the nature and use of these structures and the relationship of the occupants to the land and the sea. The roundhouses to the southwest of the broch are examples of a rare site type in Shetland. They could provide insight into the nature of these structures and their relationship to the more typical oval prehistoric houses and brochs. There is a small natural harbour immediately to the north of the area to be scheduled.

Associative characteristics

Historic local awareness of the monument is reflected in the name 'Brough Geo', a geo being an inlet in cliffs and brough being a variation on broch, indicating an ancient building.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular the relationship between brochs and simpler, more modest roundhouses, and with the landscape and the sea. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the development and use of brochs and associated settlements in Shetland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as Southvoe, broch (possible) HU41SW2. The Shetland Amenity Trust SMR records the site as Southvoe Broch and surrounding structures, MSN624.

Aerial photographs consulted




Armit, I 2003, Towers in the North, Stroud: Tempus.

Fojut, N 1982, 'Towards a Geography of Shetland Brochs', Glasgow Archaeological Journal 1982, 48.

Mackie, E W 2002, The roundhouses, brochs and wheelhouses of Atlantic Scotland c 700 BC - AD 500: architecture and material culture, Part 1: The Orkney and Shetland Isles. BAR British Series 342: Oxford.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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