Lots of folk (ok maybe not lots, it depends where you’re reading this from!) will have visited Midhowe broch in Rousay:
but how many of you have stopped to wonder why it’s called Midhowe? Howe is easy – from the Old Norse Haugr = a mound, but why the mid?
Simples really – there’s three brochs at the bottom of that steep hill in Rousay! North Howe - which is on the hill behind Midhowe and then there’s South Howe, which from the landward side looks like a big green lump next to the ruins of Brough Farm, but if you go on the beach you can see it eroding away nicely:
The dig site at Swandro is about half a mile further south along the coast than South Howe, and that’s Eynhallow Sound aka the Atlantic ocean on the right. The surveying team are standing on what looks like a manmade platform but it’s actually natural Orkney stone, very good for building with & that’s what all the archaeology’s built out of. Lasts forever – unless of course it gets in the way of the Atlantic then it’s not so good.