The Cairns Broch Excavation, Orkney
The Cairns Broch Excavation, South Ronaldsay, Orkney
The Cairns is an Iron Age broch - a massive circular structure with thick defensive walls that would have risen several metres high with multiple floors.
Brochs are found in the North of Scotland, particularly Caithness, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. They were constructed in the Iron Age from c.600 BC and most went out of use by the 1st-2nd century AD.
Many brochs are surrounded by and extra-mural settlement and at The Cairns this takes the form of a series of buildings built tight against the broch’s wall.
When the Cairns went out of use it was levelled and new structures were built on the ruins. A souterrain - an underground building - reused part of the entrance chamber. The final activity is Norse.
The excavation has run since 2006 and is directed by Martin Carruthers, Lecturer at the Archaeology Institute, University of Highlands and Islands, Kirkwall.
For more information see CANMORE: http://canmore.org.uk/site/9521