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The Braaid Roundhouse

Period: Iron Age

NGR Easting: 232512

NGR Northing: 476550

Description: Iron Age farmstead. The three structures on the site confused early antiquaries, who suggested the circle and alignments of stones forming an avenue might be elements of a prehistoric temple. Excavations in the 1930s were inconclusive: the site had been disturbed by an overflowing spring, which may have carried away datable artefacts.

The structure earlier identified as a stone circle consists of a circle of 29 standing stones, but between these there is walling in all but one case, forming a doorway. The internal diameter is 13.2m, and the walls average 1.6m in width. The doorway is 1.2m wide. Parts of the interior were paved, and while the excavators in the 1930s found no evidence for posts that might have supported a roof, the general consensus is that this was a large, stone-built roundhouse built during the late Iron Age perhaps 1,200 - 1,300 years ago.

It seems likely that this site, which is built on marginal farmland, proved not to be viable and was abandoned in favour of use during the medieval period as a seasonal settlement from which livestock was tended on nearby common land during the summer. If so, the site, uniquely for the Island, brings together buildings of Iron Age and Viking styles that were used together and survive down to the present.

View map location on Archaeology Data Service

Site & Monument Type: round house

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: 0300.10

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