The Pictish well
Lying to the east of the present day remains of
the Norse church is a small, shallow well dating from the Pictish
period of the island.
This little well is virtually the only remaining
visible evidence that the island once housed a Pictish settlement.
Covered by a slab of stone, the well lies to the
east of the main entrance, in an area that later became part of
a Norse kirkyard.
A mere 75 centimetres deep, the little well seems
to have been closely related to the metalworking that once took
place on the Brough.
Constructed from smooth stones from the nearby
beach, when excavated it was found to be surrounded by artefacts
that linked it to the manufacture of fine metal goods.
These included bronze, glass and crucibles, as
well as moulds which confirm that a specifically Pictish style of
brooch was once created on the Brough.
These were high-status items
and presumaby being made in what was once a high-status settlement.
Although the well may have had a purely practical
role in the metalworking process, bearing in mind the suspected
Pictish veneration of water and wellsl, it may also have had a more
ritual or magical significance.