Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Ulishield to Jivy Geo, boundary and houses, Fair Isle

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland South, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 59.5493 / 59°32'57"N

Longitude: -1.6146 / 1°36'52"W

OS Eastings: 421889

OS Northings: 1073775

OS Grid: HZ218737

Mapcode National: GBR Q3CH.GXT

Mapcode Global: XHD63.C7BP

Entry Name: Ulishield to Jivy Geo, boundary and houses, Fair Isle

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1996

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6578

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: field or field system; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (t

Location: Dunrossness

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland South

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument consists of the remains of a boundary wall incorporating the remains of at least two structures which may be small houses.

The wall, which is probably prehistoric in date, runs from the cliff edge to the W of Ulishield, along the S flank of the hill almost to the edge of the cliff at Jivy Geo, where it turns sharply to the S and runs downslope to the Burn of Wirvie, a total distance of 550m. It is formed of large upright blocks, and may once have been the footing of a turf or masonry wall. Near its west end it is partly submerged and eroded in a small loch, but the likely route of the wall through the loch is included for the sake of completeness.

After the sharp turn, the section of wall running downslope to the burn is more thickly covered with vegetation than the rest, resembling an earthen bank for part of its course. There are two expansions in the wall which appear to be contemporary, and may be ruined houses. One, the more westerly, is about 13.5m across overall, with an oval interior obscured by rubble but possibly having at least one alcove in the internal wall-face. The second is about 9m across and more ruinous.

The area to be scheduled consists of a strip 20m wide (10m on either side of the centre-line of the wall) and approximately 550m long, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. The scheduled area is split into two parts by the road leading to the N end of the island.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an unusual example of a boundary, which incorporates two possible dwellings or similar domestic structures. This combination of boundary and dwellings suggests that there may be considerable structural complexity preserved within the monument, with the potential to provide important information about the establishment and development of prehistoric agricultural settlement.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland




Hunter, J. R. (ed.) (1987) Fair Isle survey: interim 1984, Bradford University Schools of Archaeological Sciences and Physics Occasional Papers, No. 5 Bradford. No. 675, 719, 720.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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