Ancient Monuments

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Brockan, burnt mound 300m south of

A Scheduled Monument in Stromness and South Isles, Orkney Islands

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Latitude: 58.9665 / 58°57'59"N

Longitude: -3.3395 / 3°20'22"W

OS Eastings: 323066

OS Northings: 1009583

OS Grid: HY230095

Mapcode National: GBR L531.4Y1

Mapcode Global: WH69T.NWYL

Entry Name: Brockan, burnt mound 300m S of

Scheduled Date: 14 February 1958

Last Amended: 24 June 2014

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM1246

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: burnt mound

Location: Stromness

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: Stromness and South Isles

Traditional County: Orkney


The monument comprises the remains of a well-preserved burnt mound, dating probably to the Bronze Age (between about 2000 and 1000 BC). It survives as a roughly crescent-shaped grass-covered mound measuring approximately 30m in diameter and standing up to 2m high. The mound was partially excavated in 1900 and 1902, revealing two stone-built paved chambers with evidence of corbelled roofs. The E chamber measured about 2.7m N-S by 2.8m transversely and stood 1.5m high. A small slab-bottomed cavity was built into the centre of the floor, and smaller recesses were found to the N and E, with evidence for burning and a possible well or spring respectively. The W chamber measured 2.4m N-S by 2.7m transversely, stood 1.2m high and had a recess to the N. Quantities of burnt animal bone and pottery fragments were found in both chambers, one of which had two superimposed floor levels. Each chamber was joined by a short passage to a common, stone-walled, paved enclosure. A setting of upright slabs in the enclosure may indicate the site of a water trough. In 1946, RCAHMS noted a mass of burnt stones in the bank of the mound. The mound is situated on a gentle SW-facing slope overlooking Hoy Sound, at around 30m above sea level. The monument was originally scheduled in 1958, but the documentation did not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The scheduled area is circular on plan, measuring 50m in diameter, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of the post-and-wire fence running NNE-SSW along the western edge of the monument.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular, of prehistoric society and the construction and use of burnt mounds and their placing in the landscape. The good preservation of this monument, and the presence of unusually elaborate structures within the mound, especially the corbelled chambers and associated features, enhance its potential. There is high potential for the survival of further structures, archaeological deposits and environmental evidence relating to its development and function, which can further add to our understanding of Bronze Age society and domestic and agricultural life. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the nature of later prehistoric society and economy in Orkney.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HY20NW 1.


Anthony, I 2003, Luminescence Dating of Scottish Burnt Mounds: New Investigations in Orkney and Shetland, Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Glasgow.

Charleson, M M 1903, 'Notice of the excavation of a chambered mound near Breckness, Stromness, Orkney', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 37, 352-359.

Hedges, J 1975, 'Excavation of two Orcadian burnt mounds at Liddle and Beaquoy', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 106, 39-98.

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, 326, No. 929.

Toolis, R 2005, 'Excavation of a burnt mound at Meur, Sanday, Orkney', Scottish Archaeol Jour, 29(1).

Topping, P 2011, Introduction to Heritage Assets: Burnt Mounds, English Heritage, UK.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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