Broch of Mousa / Isle of Mousa ***
Region: Shetland Islands
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This broch is one of the best-preserved prehistoric structures in Europe. It is some 2,000 years old, and is the tallest of all the remaining brochs in the country.
Probably built between 300 and 100 BC, the broch of Mousa’s exact purpose is not known, though it is thought to have had two primary epochs of use. During the first, there was probably a wooden structure within the stone walls, which was later replaced by a wheelhouse. It may have been used as a lookout tower—indeed, the winding stairs can still be used to reach the top of the tower and take in the broch’s commanding view of land and sea.
The Orkneyinga Saga tells how in 1153AD, Erland the Young abducted Margaret, widowed mother of an Orkney Earl, and took refuge in Mousa. Earl Harold followed and besieged the broch but found it "an unhandy place to attack".
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