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Brochs again

The Mousa broch in the Shetland Islands. Wikipedia photo.

An article in Smithsonian Magazine says that archeologists are planning to build a replica of a broch. Brochs, found only in Scotland, are a kind of prehistoric castle. They are towers with very thick double walls. What a place to live!

I wrote about brochs in a post here back in 2015. I used a broch as a setting in Oratorio in Ursa Major.

In retrospect, it seems odd that I didn’t make an effort to visit a broch (or at least the ruins of a broch) in my visits to Scotland in 2018 and 2019. The best-preserved broch is the Mousa broch in the Shetland Islands — a very long haul north from the Scottish mainland, opposite Norway, but a trip that I’d like to make nevertheless. The Mousa broch, according to Wikipedia, dates to about 100 B.C.

We know pretty much nothing about the brochs other than what archeologists can tell us. To me, one of the most intriguing factoids is that the people who lived in the brochs imported wine and olives from the Mediterranean. It is fascinating to imagine what kind of lives they must have lived. They clearly were rich, or at least had something to trade. They had excellent ships and seafaring skills. They were sophisticated in that they knew, and desired, what the Mediterranean had to offer. Yet they preferred to live up against the sea on their rocky, northern islands. I think I would have liked them.

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