Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Clymlea, house 410m north east of

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland North, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.2902 / 60°17'24"N

Longitude: -1.1437 / 1°8'37"W

OS Eastings: 447443

OS Northings: 1156534

OS Grid: HU474565

Mapcode National: GBR R1JJ.W0G

Mapcode Global: XHF9C.JMB7

Entry Name: Clymlea, house 410m NE of

Scheduled Date: 24 December 1974

Last Amended: 9 August 2012

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3586

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: house

Location: Nesting

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland North

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument comprises the remains of a prehistoric house, overlain by a later planticrub. The remains consist of a roughly circular mound approximately 10m in diameter, with low footings of turf and stone. Small sections of stone facing are visible on the southern edge of the mound. The house is believed to be late Neolithic or Bronze Age in date, around 3000 to 1000 BC. It is located at around 10m above sea level on semi-improved grassland overlooking South Nesting Bay to the east. The monument was originally scheduled in 1974 but the area was inadequate and the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, 20m in diameter, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

Although the monument has undergone later alterations to construct a planticrub on the site, most elements of this prehistoric house survive in good condition. The overall form of the house is visible and sections of stone wall-facing protrude through the turf in places. The site is likely to contain important buried deposits, including artefacts, ecofacts and other environmental evidence.

Examination of the building foundations can give us detailed information about the form and construction of prehistoric houses, while buried features within the building interior can contribute to understanding of how houses were used and how this might change over time. Buried artefacts and ecofacts and buried soils can contribute to our understanding of how people lived and worked, and allow us to improve our understanding of prehistoric trade and exchange and the nature of the agricultural economy. Archaeological investigation at similar sites has yielded high quality artefactual and ecofactual material, which can help us to build up a much fuller picture of prehistoric domestic life.

Contextual characteristics

This is one of a number of broadly similar prehistoric houses that characterise early settlement and the development of agriculture in the third to second millennium BC in Shetland. It is part of a relatively rare and geographically restricted group, which gives us a more balanced view of prehistoric life, when compared with the more common and widespread burial and ceremonial monuments of the later Neolithic elsewhere in Scotland.

Associated with this house are the remains of an extensive field system. Traces of a boundary run down to the shore of South Nesting Bay and, within this field dyke, there are suggestions of sub-divisions and also heaps of gathered stones, possible evidence of clearance for agriculture. The house lies in close proximity to two other broadly contemporary monuments: another prehistoric house lies 200m to the northeast, and a burnt mound is situated 70m to the SSE. This monument is an important element of a much wider relict landscape and it testifies to early human efforts to exploit land and natural resources for agricultural production. There can be an impressive time-depth to these early houses, as may well be the case here, which can tell us much about change and continuity over long periods. Comparison of this site with the other prehistoric domestic remains in the area would help us to develop a much better understanding of prehistoric domestic life and landuse.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular, the nature of prehistoric settlement, agriculture and landuse in Shetland. It has the potential to improve our understanding of the distribution of settlement, the structural techniques used to build houses and changes in the nature of settlement over time. There is also excellent potential to study how the site fitted into a landscape that is rich in prehistoric remains. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the nature of prehistoric domestic architecture and settlement both in Shetland and Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland




Calder, C S T, 1958 'Stone Age house-sites in Shetland', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 89, 367-8.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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