Friday, June 1, 2012

Brochs

Dun Telve Broch, Glenelg
Watercolour
25 x 36 cm



Throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland there are the remains of ancient round towers, called brochs. The best-preserved ones are in the Orkney Isles, but there are some impressive examples on the mainland in Glenelg, in Wester Ross.

These mysterious towers were built during the Iron Age and experts disagree over what they were used for. They seem to be defensive structures, but they may been intended to show off the wealth or power of their owners.

The most complete of the surviving brochs are around 25 metres tall, but they may originally have been higher than that. The walls were hollow with staircases ingeniously built into them to give access to upper levels. There were no windows and just a small, low doorway. They were built of stone and amazingly no mortar was used to hold them together. The fact that they have survived at all, after two thousand years, is a testament to the skills of their builders.

4 comments:

  1. Hi there Keith!... Thanks for a great image and Scottish heritage tour!

    It is always interesting to share what we consider everyday aspects of our cultural history with others from afar... who might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit and see it for themselves!

    Thanks for your continual and capable sharing!

    Good Painting !
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

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  2. A great painting Keith and some very interesting history. I recently wrote about a church tower that was used by local peasants as a refuge from marauding vikings. With a small doorway and staircase to encounter, it makes you wonder if these could have been used for similar purposes.

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  3. Good evening Bruce, it occurs to me that our heritage is based on stone whereas yours is formed mainly from wood: An indication of the close association between landscape and culture.

    All the best,
    Keith

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  4. Hello John. Yes I think that's one theory. They were built before the main period of Viking activity, but it's thought that there may have been much earlier, unrecorded raids.

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