Sunday, 2 May 2010

Calendar - May

Of the twelve photographs of Shetland that I used for my calendar this year, this is the only one that doesn't feature the coast although the sea is just a few hundred yards away.

This is Clickimin Broch in Lerwick. Some of these structures date from the Bronze Age and it is thought that the site was continuously inhabited for over a thousand years between 700 BC and 500 AD. It is on a small holm on Clickimin Loch which was tidal during the Bronze Age but became cut off from the sea around 200BC and is now a freshwater loch.

The Broch is the central structure and it is surrounded by a defensive wall or dyke with a single entrance facing the causeway. 

The circular broch is double walled with a staircase within the walls. There would have been a wooden structure within the stone walls and it would have housed many people.

Broch interior

Originally it was 10m tall but later was reduced in height and became an ordinary farmhouse housing just one family. The morning I took these photos the view of the loch from the building was beautiful.

As I wandered around the site early in the morning it was very calm and peaceful but the existence of such a thick defensive wall suggests that it wasn't always so. There is evidence that cattle and sheep were kept on the farm site and that barley was cultivated. It must have been a cold and uncomfortable life at times, crowded into the stone buildings during the short days of the northern winters but generations and generations called this little area home.

When I think of how little they possessed compared to all the things we seem to "need" to live our lives in the 21st century, I wonder what a bronze age man or woman would make of our way of life today. In the Western world, we talk about simplifying and minimalism as a choice available to us, back then it was the only option.


Simply Authentic said...

As always, love the history and information you're able to pass on about your surroundings. One of the reasons I so love England/Scotland is how available so much history is to you all--you just live amongst it! Not that there isn't history here but the structures are so different!

Also enjoyed your final thought about needs? The more we situate the house, the more I ask myself these same questions. Luckily we have don't have too many "extras" built up, but I'm constantly wondering what is a necessity and what is want....hence the TV..... :)

abby said...

I have yet to visit Clickimin Broch - can you believe it?! Great photos