The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Cummi Howe

Broch (Destroyed)


Highly unusual for us not to know the overall dimensions of a broch - if I'd known I'd 'ave done it mi sen. So this is likely the cairn below Cumminess mentioned on 1907. Described as amorphous, however viewed from several directions it supplies the standard broch profile even if most of the west side has been lost to the sea and a planty creugh [also planti-crû or planticru, used to shelter young plants] built into the east. A few feet south of the highest surviving point of the mound is a 2m high cut (mound top less than a metre higher if that) measuring 25m by 14m is seen extending out to the seaward side. A curving broch wall 6m in length (in 1966 leastways) survives to eight courses of middling blocks in the western half of its northern edge, with more walling and slabs carrying on to the eastern end. Opinion is undecided as to what feature this represents - outer wall-face [of the tower presumably], intra-mural cell or a gallery's inner face. In 1966 Ordance Survey believed there might be further traces of this wall to the north. Though the cut is ascribed to coastal erosion I would not rule out an unrecorded trench (or possibly even accidental survival of an original space) because it is such a regular shape. Sometime between 1846 and 1966 other features by here - consisting of a small structure and a very short passage - have either been lost or subsumed by vegetation. The passage, about 0.6m long and 1.12m in height, "adjoined" the seaward end of the wall. This led into a structure (perhaps later in date) 3m N/S by 2.4m E/W shaped like part of a circle.
Though this is unlikely to be a broch settlement mention should be made of Gorrie Knowe between here and the Brig o'Waithe. HY21SE 76 at HY28091059 appears in the Orkney Name Book as a house but the site is a circular/sub-oval structure originally 10m across surviving to three courses as a curving wall fragment. And given that The Howe had a Viking Era settlement an aerial survey found two rectangular cropmarks, HY21SE 101 at HY28101061, not yet located on the ground.
wideford Posted by wideford
24th February 2007ce
Edited 29th May 2009ce

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