Scotland's Coastal Heritage at Risk

Sites at Risk

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Backaskaill (6736)

Current Priority
2
East
364140
North
1039190
Site Type
Possible Broch
Period
1st mill BC-1st mill AD

The site of a large structure of apparent prehistoric date, most likely a broch, lies on a rocky outcrop beside the coast edge. Petrie investigated the remains in 1867 and noted that the main structure was surrounded by a ring of large stones and that the walls had a considerable batter. The site has been badly damaged in the past by deliberate leveling and what remains is now subject to destruction by sea erosion and through small-scale sand extraction. In the coastal section, erosion has exposed midden and fragmentary structural deposits over a distance of some 20m; deep anthropogenic soils extend to the west of this for almost 100m. The structural remains include a 3m thick wall, double faced with a soil and rubble core and fragmentary floor surfaces. The midden deposits contain inclusions of bone, peatash, burnt clay and shell. Traces of an OGS are intermittently visible beneath the structural remains. To the rear of the coast, a grassy mound measuring 20m in diameter and standing up to 1.75m high may mark the presence of further buried deposits. Ref.: Petrie, G, (1859-73) Note book 9, 35; RCAHMS (1946) #159; RCAHMS (1980), #58.

FEB 2015- no significant changes.

Condition and current recommendations:

Condition
Fair/poor
Action
Visit - assess condition of the site ;
Survey site - using several techniques to characterise site

Over to you...

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If you have completed a field survey of this site, you can submit your ShoreUPDATE record here.

Record SY89 on map Sanday: Map 7 in Orkney Coastal Survey: Sanday & North Ronaldsay, 1999

Other records:

NMRS
3414
SMR
SMR100

ShoreUpdates

2 ShoreUpdates accepted and 0 pending.

Click on an update to expand it.

6th January, 2015 by training1
Survey Information
User:
training1
Date:
Jan. 6, 2015
Tidal state:
low
Site located?:
Yes
Condition Information
Proximity to coast edge:
coast edge
Coastally eroding?:
active sea erosion; has eroded in the past
Is there a coastal defence?:
no
Other threats?:
tipping; sand/shingle extraction
If other, please specify:

A large pit for farm rubbish has been dug into the landward side of the broch mound

Description:

ShoreUPDATE 23/04/2013

As described except features may be more clearly visible.

The coastal section cuts through a c. 30m diameter mound with a substantial perimeter drystone wall. On the west side of the mound is a large ditch, c. 8m wide.

Fragmentary exposures of midden and burnt material are visible. Archaeological material noted includes animal bone, fire-cracked stone, pottery and marine shell.

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?:
easily accessible- no restrictions
The site is:
is well known; is well visited
Comments and recommendations
Recommendations:

Previous records suggest the site is very disturbed and field observation supports this. A detailed survey and section drawing would help understand the extent of the remains and the extent of the damage.

Priority 2

10th February, 2015 by cparker
Survey Information
User:
cparker
Date:
Feb. 10, 2015
Site located?:
Yes
Condition Information
Description:

The site of a large structure of apparent prehistoric date, most likely a broch, lies on a rocky outcrop beside the coast edge. Petrie investigated the remains in 1867 and noted that the main structure was surrounded by a ring of large stones and that the walls had a considerable batter. The site has been badly damaged in the past by deliberate leveling and what remains is now subject to destruction by sea erosion and through small-scale sand extraction. In the coastal section, erosion has exposed midden and fragmentary structural deposits over a distance of some 20m; deep anthropogenic soils extend to the west of this for almost 100m. The structural remains include a 3m thick wall, double faced with a soil and rubble core and fragmentary floor surfaces. The midden deposits contain inclusions of bone, peatash, burnt clay and shell. Traces of an OGS are intermittently visible beneath the structural remains. To the rear of the coast, a grassy mound measuring 20m in diameter and standing up to 1.75m high may mark the presence of further buried deposits. Ref.: Petrie, G, (1859-73) Note book 9, 35; RCAHMS (1946) #159; RCAHMS (1980), #58.

FEB 2015- no significant changes.

Management Information
Comments and recommendations
Comments:

No significant changes to the site's condition were noted in February 2015.