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Broch

- (Scottish) from the Norse, Berg, meaning a strong or fortified place. A large circular tower of drystone construction, with internal passageways, and hyperbolic parraboidal form. Probably originating around 500BC most are of late Roman/Early Christian date, perhaps Pictish. Archaeoligical investigation has revealed that they were probably the residence of the principal family of the community, and served as a meeting place. They were certainly capable of being defended and it is interesting to speculate on the similarities with the tower house. There are rare and ruinous examples in central and southern Scotland, impressive examples on the west coast, on Skye and Lewis and in Sutherland, but the most spectacular are on Orkney and Shetland, especially the Broch of Mousa (Illustration), which is still over 13m high.