Ancient Monuments

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Ness,promontory fort 120m NNW of,Bay of Garth

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland West, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.3078 / 60°18'28"N

Longitude: -1.6099 / 1°36'35"W

OS Eastings: 421659

OS Northings: 1158249

OS Grid: HU216582

Mapcode National: GBR Q1CH.K3G

Mapcode Global: XHD2F.F57Q

Entry Name: Ness,promontory fort 120m NNW of,Bay of Garth

Scheduled Date: 22 January 1993

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5540

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill and promontory fort)

Location: Walls and Sandness

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland West

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument consists of a prehistoric promontory fort on a tidal islet. The fort has been formed by the creation of three substantial walls of drystone masonry, cutting off the SW, landward, side of a promonotry which marine erosion has now made into a tidal islet. The three ramparts lie about 5m apart from each other. The central one is the most massive, standing 1.5m high in places and over 3m wide at

its base. Being set on a slope, each has collapsed somewhat into the one below.

From the innermost rampart's W end a more slightly-built

wall extends N along the W edge of the low cliffs which fringe all but the SW end of the promontory. Within the enclosed area, abutting the back of the inner rampart, is a rectangular stone-built foundation, possibly a blockhouse of Iron Age date, the most likely date for the ramparts themselves. Also within the enclosed area, on the W edge, are the turf-covered foundations of several oval

structures, each about 4m by 2.5m overall.

Where one of these is cut by the eroding cliff edge, middle-late Iron Age pottery has been recovered. A stone-faced bank 8m long cuts off the N, seaward, end of the promontory. The area to be scheduled consists of the whole of the area of the tidal islet which forms the Ness of Garth, bounded by the upper edge of the cliffs on all but the SW side, and on the SW side bounded by the N edge of the shingle beach which lies between the islet and the opposing shore, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a particularly fine monument, an example of a small promontory fort with stone-faced ramparts in an area where brochs are the Iron Age norm. It offers the potential, through comparative study, to enhance our understanding about the social arrangements of Iron Age Shetland. The relatively massive ramparts may seal important deposits, accessible to excavation, and the various structures within the defences offer the possibility of chronological depth, with a possible late Iron Age settlement, perhaps ecclesiastical in nature.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HU25NW 2.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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