Scotland's Coastal Heritage at Risk

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Channerwick (12788)

Current Priority
1
East
440506
North
1123224
Site Type
Broch? Complex Atlantic Roundhouse?
Period
Preshistoric

A substantial stone structure over 10m in diametre and 2m in height is exposed in a sand mound at the north end of Channerwick. The structure appears to comprise a massive external double wall constructed from white crystalline rock. Rubble fills the space between the walls. To the north of the external wall, internal structures are constructed with fine-grained sandstone slabs. At least two walls are visible. In the centre of the internal space, a subterranean corbelled chamber underlies the floor and hearth deposits of the structure. Associated midden deposits comprising peat ash and organic material and incorporating frequent animal bone and pottery are present throughout the internal part of the structure and extend c. 50m north-eastwards, thinning gradually to the stream where they form a thin layer directly overlying beach cobbles. An inhumation burial was recovered in February 2014 from the area immediately seaward (south-east) of the structure. The skeleton is currently being re-dated to verify an initial 19th century date obtained from the mandible.

The architecture and scale of the structure is suggestive of a broch. However, internal structures strongly resemble a wheelhouse. There are examples of brochs with later wheelhouses inserted into the interior, e.g. at Levenwick broch, around 10km south of Channerwick. However, initial impressions of the remains exposed in the section, are that the internal structure is contemporary with the external wall. Until further investigation, complex Atlantic Roundhouse best describes the structure.

Condition and current recommendations:

Condition
Action

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Other records:

NMRS
Unknown
SMR
Unknown

ShoreUpdates

1 ShoreUpdate accepted and 0 pending.

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30th May, 2014 by training1
Survey Information
User:
training1
Date:
May 30, 2014
Tidal state:
mid
Condition Information
Proximity to coast edge:
coast edge
Coastally eroding?:
active sea erosion; has eroded in the past
Is there a coastal defence?:
no
Description:

A substantial stone structure over 10m in diametre and 2m in height is exposed in a sand mound at the north end of Channerwick. The structure appears to comprise a massive external double wall constructed from white crystalline rock. Rubble fills the space between the walls. To the north of the external wall, internal structures are constructed with fine-grained sandstone slabs. At least two walls are visible. N the centre of the internal space, a subterranean corbelled chamber underlies the floor and hearth deposits of the structure. Associated midden deposits comprising peat ash and organic material and incorporating frequent animal bone and pottery are present throughout the internal part of the structure and extend c. 50m north-eastwards, thinning gradually to the stream where they form a thin layer directly overlying beach cobbles. An inhumation burial was recovered in February 2014 from the area immediately seaward (south-east) of the structure. The skeleton is currently being re-dated to verify an initial 19th century date obtained from the mandible.

The architecture and scale of the structure is suggestive of a broch. The internal structures strongly resemble a wheelhouse. Levenwick broch, around 10km south of Channerwick is described as a broch with a later wheelhouse inserted into the interior.

Management Information
How visible are the remains? (above ground):
not visible
How visible are the remains? (in section):
clearly visible in section
How accessibile is the site?:
accessible on foot (no footpath)
The site is:
is well known
Comments and recommendations
Comments:

Exposed in easterly gales of 2012/13 and further damaged in 2013/14. ShoreDIG project to clean, record and sample site was carried out in 2015.

Recommendations:

Urgent recording, sampling for dating and assessment of significance.