Ancient Monuments

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Trolligarts,chambered cairn,homestead and field system south east of

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland West, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.2555 / 60°15'19"N

Longitude: -1.5588 / 1°33'31"W

OS Eastings: 424518

OS Northings: 1152438

OS Grid: HU245524

Mapcode National: GBR Q1HM.QGX

Mapcode Global: XHD2N.3H0C

Entry Name: Trolligarts,chambered cairn,homestead and field system SE of

Scheduled Date: 22 January 1993

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5545

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: field or field system; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: chambere

Location: Walls and Sandness

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland West

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument consists of a prehistoric chambered burial cairn and an extensive prehistoric settlement on the S slope of Trolligarts.

The cairn is circular in plan, approximately 5m in diameter and surrounded by the remains of a kerb of large boulders. A small, polygonal, central chamber is visible, also formed of large boulders, with an entrance gap on the S side.

The settlement is focussed 150m E of the cairn, on a very large mound of rubble, 15m by 12m, which appears to represent a ruined oval house within which are four sub-circular, contiguous, structures, each large enough to be a dwelling. Around this are a number of smaller mounds which may also represent domestic or agricultural structures.

The whole slope of the hill is scattered with cairns of field-cleared stones, and a number of enclosures formed by low tumbled walls make up a pattern of irregular fields. These pre-date the extensive peat deposits which surround the site. Traces of rig-and-furrow cultivation overlie these early remains, and a number of plantie-krubs walled cultivation plots) of recent date surround the central structure, and have clearly been built from its stone.

The area to be scheduled is polygonal, with maximum dimensions 470m WSW-ENE by 300m transversely, to include the chambered cairn, the large homestead, the ancillary mounds, clearance cairns and field system, and an area between and around these in which evidence of their construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as one of the most extensive and best preserved of Shetland's prehistoric farming settlements, which excavations elsewhere have dated to the range 3300-1000 BC. Of particular importance are the close association of the burial cairn with the settlement site and the form of the settlement focus, which hints at a later remodelling into multiple dwellings of a large single structure: on present theories, this might represent and accompany a deterioration in conditions prior to the encroachment of blanket peat over the whole site. Also of note is the later (post-medieval) agricultural use of the site. The monument has an exceptionally high importance in terms of its potential to provide information about the nature, evolution and duration of agricultural settlement, and about accompanying changes in climatic, environmental and economic conditions.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HU25SW 1.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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