Baile Sear, North Uist - August 2005  The SCAPE Trust
Friends of Orkney Archaeological Trust : Eroding broch
The Friends of the Orkney Archaeological Trust are an active group who are keen to explore the numerous archaeological monuments on the islands. Orkney is blessed with having a wide range of archaeological sites, but many of these are under threat from coastal erosion. Sites from all periods are in danger, from prehistoric habitation sites to Second World War defences.

The group are monitoring a few sites, and one of the more spectacular is a probable broch on the east coast of Mainland. This structure is over two metres high and several cells can be seen in the eroding cliff edge.

As well as structural elements, the sea is washing away evidence of the diet of the former inhabitants. Middens, or dumps of rubbish, made up of sea shells and animal bone are visible in many places along the section. The group is continuing to monitor the site and plans to make a detailed photographic record of the structure to compare with similar photos taken a few years ago.
Shorewatch work in Foula A prehistoric site, probably an Iron Age broch, half-sectioned by the sea.
Eroding broch in Shetland © The SCAPE Trust
Part of a collapsing cell within the structure.
Part of a small area of shell midden eroding out from the structure.
Pieces of prehistoric pottery found lying on the beach. These would not have lasted long in that position and would have been taken away by the next spring tide.
Half of a broken quernstone lying on the beach.
The group has also found artefacts lying on the beach close to the structure. These have fallen from the section after storms. During their last visit, the group found several pieces of Iron Age pottery on the beach, which they recorded before taking to the local museum.

The group also found a more recent artefact close to the prehistoric structure. Half of a quernstone was found lying on the rocky beach amongst all the other boulders.
  © The SCAPE Trust