Ancient Monuments

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East Longfield, broch 470m south of, Loch of Brow

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland South, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 59.9238 / 59°55'25"N

Longitude: -1.3163 / 1°18'58"W

OS Eastings: 438322

OS Northings: 1115611

OS Grid: HU383156

Mapcode National: GBR R23H.TSR

Mapcode Global: XHD49.8TCN

Entry Name: East Longfield, broch 470m S of, Loch of Brow

Scheduled Date: 12 July 2012

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13035

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 of Iron Age date, built probably between 500 BC and AD 200, surviving as a series of upstanding walls and earthworks on an island in the Loch of Brow, at around 7m above sea level. The island is attached to the mainland by a causeway.

The broch itself consists of a penannular wall, measuring 16m in diameter across walls 4.5m wide, including tumble. To the southeast is a later plantiecrub, measuring 9m by 7m across walls 1.5m thick; in 1930, a saddle quern was noted built into this structure. To the south are the remains of the stone causeway, now submerged.

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. To allow for its maintenance, the scheduling excludes the above-ground elements of the post-and-wire fence running along the causeway.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is an example of a broch and associated remains, dating to the Iron Age. It is very probable that substantial buried remains of the broch's lower courses and foundations are preserved beneath the mound. There is a strong likelihood that archaeological deposits associated with the monument's construction, use and abandonment are preserved on the island.

The upstanding and buried remains have considerable potential to enhance our understanding of brochs, the methods used in their construction, their use and function, 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. Its location on an island could mean that some of its deposits may be waterlogged, which adds to the potential. Similarly, deposits associated with the submerged causeway may preserve rare organic artefactual and environmental remains.

Contextual characteristics

The broch is one of around 200 in Shetland, which may have been occupied at around the same time. This broch is overlooked by a later prehistoric homestead at East Longfield, which itself lies just 1km southeast of the broch of Lunabister. It therefore has the potential to enhance our understanding of the relationship between brochs and other settlement types, the extent to which they were contemporary, and their relationship 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 keen to display its status. 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.

It is possible that the freshwater Spiggie Loch and the Loch of Brow, now separated by a moss, were once joined and made up a voe. If this was once the case, the site would originally have been located on an intertidal islet. The situation of the monument contrasts with that of the nearby broch of Lunabister and the homestead at East Longfield, with which the site is intervisible.

Associative characteristics

House names in the vicinity reference the site, including 'Broch View' to the north and 'Waterbrough' to the south.

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 of Iron Age Shetland and the role and function of brochs. The monument offers potential to study the relationship between an island broch and a prehistoric homestead and another broch in the near vicinity. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the development and use of brochs in Shetland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



At the time of scheduling, the monument lay within the Lochs of Spiggie and Brow Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

RCAHMS record the site as Loch of Brow, broch (possible) HU31NE7. The Shetland Amenity Trust SMR records the site as Loch of Brow, PrefRef 596, MonUID MSN596.


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.700BC-AD500: architecture and material culture, Part 1: The Orkney and Shetland Isles. BAR British Series 342: Oxford.

RCAHMS 1946, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: Twelfth Report with an Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Orkney and Shetland. Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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