Broch of Gurness / Isle of Mainland ***

Region: Orkney Islands

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The Broch of Gurness with its sprawling village surrounding it and probably built as a planned settlement some time before 200BC is the best example of one of these Iron Age dwellings that can be found on the Orkney Mainland.

It was surrounded by a rampart and three ditches and shows three phases of construction and reconstruction, during which outbuildings were erected on the levelled rampart and into the inner ditch.

Subsequently Dark Age and early Viking buildings occupied part of the site (a 10th century Viking woman's grave was inserted into the wall of the outer courtyard). Some of the later buildings have been re-erected to the west of the broch to expose the earlier outbuildings.