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) is an Iron Age drystone hollow-walled structure of a type found only in Scotland.
Brochs belong to the classification "complex atlantic roundhouse" devised by Scottish archaeologists in the 1980s. is the older word used for these structures in the north. Antiquaries began to use the spelling broch in the 1870s.
Writing in 1956 John Stewart suggested that brochs were forts put up by a military society to scan and protect the countryside and seas.
Finally, some archaeologists consider broch sites individually, doubting that there ever was a single common purpose for which every broch was constructed.
There are five extant examples of towers with significantly higher walls: Dun Carloway on Lewis, Dun Telve and Dun Troddan in Glenelg, Mousa in Shetland and Dun Dornaigil in Sutherland, all of whose walls exceed 6.5 m (21 ft) in height.They were sometimes regarded as the work of Danes or Picts.From the 1930s to the 1960s, archaeologists such as V.The Shetland Amenity Trust lists about 120 sites in Shetland as candidate brochs, while the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) identifies a total of 571 candidate broch sites throughout the country.Researcher Euan Mac Kie has proposed a much smaller total for Scotland of 104.
The origin of brochs is a subject of continuing research.