Ancient Monuments

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Gruting School,settlement and field system at head of Scutta Voe

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland West, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.2321 / 60°13'55"N

Longitude: -1.4922 / 1°29'31"W

OS Eastings: 428225

OS Northings: 1149862

OS Grid: HU282498

Mapcode National: GBR Q1NP.QYS

Mapcode Global: XHD2V.Y2WR

Entry Name: Gruting School,settlement and field system at head of Scutta Voe

Scheduled Date: 26 June 1995

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6195

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: field or field system

Location: Sandsting

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland West

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument comprises the remains of a prehistoric settlement of at least four houses, with traces of field walls and field clearance cairns.

The settlement lies on a S-facing slope, and has been cut by a modern road. Of the four definite oval prehistoric houses, one has been almost completely covered by the road, the second lies beneath a small garage but is probably little disturbed, the third was excavated in the early 1950s, but still contains considerable archaeological potential and the fourth appears relatively undisturbed.

The excavated house measures 16m by 12m externally, and contains a two-celled interior, with the larger cell at the E end measuring 8m by 5.6m and the smaller, inner cell at the W end measuring 2.9m across. the entrance is from the E. The fourth house lies 230m ESE of the excavated one, and measures 10.5m by 8m externally over walls some 2m thick. Several large stones protrude, suggesting a sub-division of the interior wall face into recesses.

Around the third and fourth house there are a large number of small cairns composed of stones cleared from the fields, but only fragmentary stretches of tumbled drystone walling survive to confirm the former presence of an extensive field system. The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan and in three parts: the main portion lying N of the road and two smaller areas lying S of it.

The main area measures a maximum of 360m NW-SE by 140m, bounded on the S by the N edge of the modern road, and the two smaller areas are a maximum of 70m WNW-ESE by 25m around the garage on the second house site (the above-ground structure of the garage is excluded) and a maximum of 90m NW-SE by 35m at the S extremity of the larger area.

Both smaller areas are bounded on the N by the S edge of the road. These areas are marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a prehistoric settlement of considerable extent with a variety of house-types, which may indicate either a considerable sequence of use or a variation of contemporary architectural styles. In either case, the monument has proven potential, through excavation and analysis, to provide additional important information about prehistoric settlement structure and farming economy, material culture and contemporary environmental conditions.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HU 24 NE 9.


Calder, C. S. T. (1958) 'Stone Age house-sites in Shetland', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, Vol. 89, 343-6, 372-3.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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