Ancient Monuments

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Maiden Stack,settlement,Papa Stour

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland West, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.3282 / 60°19'41"N

Longitude: -1.66 / 1°39'36"W

OS Eastings: 418875

OS Northings: 1160505

OS Grid: HU188605

Mapcode National: GBR Q18F.L47

Mapcode Global: XHBVG.RNTM

Entry Name: Maiden Stack,settlement,Papa Stour

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1996

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6321

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: settlement, including deserted, depopulated and townships

Location: Walls and Sandness

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland West

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument comprises the remains of a small stone-built structure on top of a cliffed sea-stack 10m high.

The structure appears to be oval on plan, with traces of a small enclosure to one side. The walls of the oval structure still stand up to 1m (6 courses) high, and are of drystone construction.

It is possible that this is in origin an eremitic retreat of Early Christian date, but according to tradition it was subsequently used for the segregation of those affected by leprosy, or a skin disease with effects closely resembling it. The structure may also have been used at various times as a shelter for those gathering young seabirds and eggs from the cliffs of the stack.

The area to be scheduled consists of the whole top surface of the stack, above the bare rock of the cliffs. It is irregular on plan, and measures approximately 20m NE-SW by 15m, as shown in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an unusually well-preserved example of a stack-top settlement. Such monuments are quite numerous in the Northern and Western Isles, but their inaccessibility has as yet precluded scientific investigation by excavation.

This monument is unusual in being inaccessible but not particularly secluded, being overlooked by nearby land and very close to the local centre to population. It has the potential to provide important information which might allow this widespread class of monument to be better understood.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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