Brochtoberfest 2018

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The Cairns Broch Orkney 2018

Brochtoberfest is an annual celebration of all things related to brochs and the Scottish Iron Age more generally.

Day One: Lectures and Exhibition

  • Date:     20th October 2018
  • Time:    Midday to 16.30
  • Venue:  St Magnus Centre, Palace Road, Kirkwall KW15 1PA
  • Host:     Orkney Archaeology Society

Day Two: Field-trip to Broch of Gurness

  • Date: 21st October 2018
  • Time: 11.00 -13.00
  • Meet: Will be arranged on Day One

It’s a concept originally devised by Orkney Archaeology Society and this year will be the third annual event in the series, and sees the return of the event to Orkney shores after a very successful meeting in Caithness last year, hosted by Caithness Broch Project.

There will be stalls such as Young Archaeology Club, OAS, Iron Age Spinning, 3D images of the Cairns Broch and finds from the Broch. On the Sunday there will be a field trip to the Broch of Gurness which will be led by Historic Scotland’s Andrew Burnet, along with UHI Archaeology Institute Martin Carruthers.

Martin Carruthers, Chair of Orkney Archaeology Society, Site Director of The Cairns Broch excavation and Programme Leader for MSc Archaeological Practice at the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute continues………

“The event is to be held in October, as its name suggests, on the 20th and the 21st of the Month, and we intend to broaden the event, and its appeal by including more space for stalls, exhibitions, posters, field outings as well as presentations from professionals, academics, students, and community groups currently, or recently, involved in broch-related projects. There will therefore be opportunities to show-case ongoing projects, initiatives and research.


I wanted to use this opportunity to invite initial interest in any or all of these types of activity. As you’ll appreciate time is marching onwards so please feel free to pass this message on directly to anyone who you feel might have an appropriate interest, and especially to anyone (students, community groups, professionals, academics, living-heritage professionals, experimental archaeologists) that you feel could be productive contributors to the vibrancy of the festival, whether through presentation, exhibition, demonstration, or other means.

We would, for instance love to have representation from all of the major Northern Scottish Iron Age projects currently under way as well as from collaborators and partners such as Caithness Broch Project, Yarrows Heritage Trust, etc.

The festival organisers would also very much like to hear of anyone who might be interested in representing other archaeological projects from adjacent periods and regions, so those pursuing Later Bronze Age, Late Iron Age and Early Historic themes would also be very much welcome. Our aim is to be broad and expansive in our definition of what is relevant to brochs.”

Please do get in touch with any queries and especially if you feel that you, or your organisation, would like to be involved by dropping us a line at





The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute are teaming up with Caithness Broch Project and Orkney Archaeology Society to hold an extravaganza of all things “Broch” this October.

A one day event we are calling “Broch’toberfest” is to be held on Saturday 29th October, 11am to 2pm at St Magnus Centre Kirkwall, Orkney.  If you have an interest in archaeology, the Iron Age or Brochs then drop in for a few minutes or a few hours…you will be most welcome. Entry is free.

The programme is coming together and is looking exciting:

  • 11 -11.05am – Introduction and opening remarks
  • 11.05-11.30 – Excavating a Broch Household. Talk by Martin Carruthers, Site Director of The Cairns archaeological dig on South Ronaldsay
  • 11.30-11.50 – Discussion on Brochs and Iron Age Society
  • 11.50-12.20 – Lunchtime where there will be opportunities to roam around stalls, examine artefacts and talk to some of the archaeologists from the UHI and Caithness Broch Project. Light refreshments will be available including Broch Buns and Brochy Road (the puns keep coming), tea and coffee.
  • 12.20-12.45 – Tall Towers with Grass Roots. Talk by Kenny McElroy and Iain Maclean from the Caithness Broch Project. Brochs and archaeology of Caithness.
  • 12.45-1.05 – Discussion on Brochs and Contemporary Society
  • 1.05-1.30 – Stepping outside of the Circle:Exploring Iron Age Landscapes in Orkney. Talk by Amanda Brend and James Moore of the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute.
  • 1.30-1.50 – Discussion on Broch Landscapes
  • 1.50-2pm – Concluding remarks, discussions and future direction

Timings are approximate and may change as the discussion develops.