Scotland's Coastal Heritage at Risk

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Buryan (6657)

Current Priority
Site Type
1st mill BC-1st mill AD

Part of a broch survives on the coast edge at the Point of Buryan; the remainder has been eroded away by the sea. Antiquarian investigations carried out in 1880 were briefly reported by Cursiter; at this time the structure had already been damaged by erosion and it was then estimated that up to 50% had been removed. The broch is estimated to have measured between 15m and 18m in diameter, with walls up to 3.96m thick. Remains are now visible in a coastal exposure some 80m in length and up to 1m in height. The upper part of the coastal section is covered by overhanging turf, while the base is obscured by a storm beach. The visible archaeology comprises both structural stone and substantial anthropogenic deposits. The inland extent of the remains was not inspected because access was denied by the landowner. A modern marker cairn has been built at the head of the banks, above the broch remains. Refs.: RCAHMS (1946) #437; Cursiter, J W (1923) 'The Orkney Brochs' PSAS, 57 (1922-23); RCAHMS (1980) #60; Hedges, J W (1987) 'Bu, Gurness and the Brochs of Orkney' part 3 #42.

Condition and current recommendations:

Visit - assess condition of the site ;
Survey site - using several techniques to characterise site ;
Excavate site - open area

Over to you...

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Record SY18 on map Sanday: Map 1 in Orkney Coastal Survey: Sanday & North Ronaldsay, 1999

Other records:



1 ShoreUpdate accepted and 0 pending.

Click on an update to expand it.

9th December, 2014 by training1
Survey Information
Dec. 9, 2014
Tidal state:
Site located?:
Condition Information
Proximity to coast edge:
coast edge
Coastally eroding?:
active sea erosion; has eroded in the past
Is there a coastal defence?:

ShoreUPDATE 23-04-2013

More or less as described. Dry stone structural remains and cultural deposits visible in low coastal section extending northwest of the main half sectioned broch tower. Stone and cultural deposits also visible at the base of the section immediately below the main broch tower, although the coast edge is well-vegetated here. On the south east side of the main broch structure, cultural deposits exposed in the section contain coal and are more likely to be associated with the farmstead.

Management Information
How visible are the remains? (above ground):
limited visibility (partial remains)
How visible are the remains? (in section):
limited visibility in section
How accessibile is the site?:
accessible- difficult terrain; accessible on foot (no footpath)
The site is:
don't know
Comments and recommendations

Regular monitoring especially following severe weather. The broch is much damaged already.Re-assign to priority 2