Ancient Monuments

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Clevigarth, broch and field system 965m north east of The Cottage, North Town

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland South, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 59.8989 / 59°53'56"N

Longitude: -1.2754 / 1°16'31"W

OS Eastings: 440642

OS Northings: 1112871

OS Grid: HU406128

Mapcode National: GBR R26K.VP2

Mapcode Global: XHD4H.SGW5

Entry Name: Clevigarth, broch and field system 965m NE of The Cottage, North Town

Scheduled Date: 19 June 1934

Last Amended: 26 September 2012

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2073

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: broch

Location: Dunrossness

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland South

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument comprises the remains of an Iron Age broch, built between 500 BC and AD 200, the remains of several outbuildings that cluster around it, a probable oval prehistoric house, and a field system that extends north from the broch for about 50m and south for almost 300m. The broch is visible as a large mound covered with turf and stones, with parts of the internal and external wall face exposed at the top of the mound. The broch tower has a diameter of 17.5m with walls 4.3m thick and survives to a height of over 3m. The upper parts of two cells are visible in the wall on the SW side where the entrance has been identified and the lintel of a door lies in the inside wall face to the northwest. The external buildings are visible as shallow depressions and the field system is defined by low, turf-covered banks and lines of boulders. The monument stands at about 20m above sea level, 60m from the rocky east coast of Mainland, 5.2km north of Sumburgh Head. There are extensive views along the coast to the north and south. The monument was first scheduled in 1934 but the documentation does not meet modern standards; the present rescheduling rectifies this.

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.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The broch is well preserved and in a stable condition. The lower walls and foundations are protected beneath a mound of debris some 3m deep and it is very probable that substantial remains of the broch's lower courses, floors and foundations are preserved beneath the present ground surface. Internal occupation deposits are likely to survive and small test pits just outside the broch have revealed a shallow sequence of midden-rich deposits. Investigation of the lower slopes of the broch mound showed evidence of ard cultivation. To the south and west of the broch is a broad platform 18m wide, on which the remains of at least three houses are visible as shallow depressions. The field system, broadly north and south of the broch, comprises eight or more oval or sub-circular enclosures defined by earthfast stones. The enclosures lie in pairs on either side of a curvilinear boundary that is visible on the ground surface for a distance of over 500m. Two of the enclosures lie north of the broch and at least three pairs of enclosures lie to the south and cover an area measuring at least 200m SSW-NNE by 100m transversely. Researchers have identified the remains of at least one house with an oval or figure-of-eight shape, sited between the enclosures south of the broch, visible as a shallow depression measuring 5m by 4m with a stone-revetted internal wall face. A possible burnt mound also lies southeast of the broch. The results of small-scale excavations (test pits) suggest that the soil in the field system north of the broch has been enhanced by human activity. The date of the field systems is yet to be established, but that to the south may predate the broch, suggesting that this may have been a favoured location for settlement over an extended period in prehistory.

Future investigation of the mound and buried remains may allow researchers to date construction of the broch, assess the duration of its use and ascertain the sequence of development. There is also potential to compare the date and occupation of the broch with that of the external buildings, the field system and the probable prehistoric house. In addition, the buried remains have considerable potential to enhance understanding of the use and function of brochs and associated structures and of the daily lives of the people who occupied them. There is high potential for the recovery of artefacts and ecofacts that may 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 brochs in Shetland. It has the potential to enhance our understanding of the relationship between brochs, 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 buried remains here have high potential to help us address these questions and may also provide insights into the nature and use of these structures and the landscape immediately around them. This broch is one of a string of similar structures that occupy prominent positions along the east coast of Mainland. In particular, there is potential to compare the external structures with those at other broch sites, such as the Broch of Burraland which lies further north along the coast. The extensive field system can also be compared and contrasted with the field system that surrounds the broch at Underhoull on Unst.

Associative characteristics

The site is marked on the Ordnance Survey 1st edition map and is labelled 'Brough'.

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 is particularly important because of its good preservation, the presence of external structures, and the evidence for an extensive field system and probable oval house in the vicinity. These remains suggest that this has been a favoured location for settlement over many centuries and that the monument offers significant potential to study changes in building style, material culture, economy and agriculture over an extended time period. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the development, use and placement of brochs in Shetland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland




Dockrill, S J, Turner, V E, Brown, L D, 2003 'Clevigarth Broch' in DES 2003, 118.

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. 78.

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, 3v Edinburgh. 27.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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