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Burn of Furse to Homis Dale, settlement and burnt mounds, Fair Isle

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland South, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 59.537 / 59°32'13"N

Longitude: -1.6227 / 1°37'21"W

OS Eastings: 421436

OS Northings: 1072401

OS Grid: HZ214724

Mapcode National: GBR Q3BJ.K5T

Mapcode Global: XHD63.8K14

Entry Name: Burn of Furse to Homis Dale, settlement and burnt mounds, Fair Isle

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1996

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6588

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: burnt mound

Location: Dunrossness

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland South

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument comprises the remains of a settlement of prehistoric date, probably Bronze Age, together with several burnt mounds and a large number of later agricultural enclosures.

The best preserved settlement remains lie in the gently sloping valley around the head of the Burn of Furse. On the N side of the burn are the remains of two stone-built oval houses, while to the S of the burn lie two burnt mounds. Both of the houses has a sub-circular main compartment about 8m across with a subsidiary apartment, or annexe, about 6m across on the E side. A small platform to the SE of these houses may represent the site of a third, but has been disturbed by later construction.

The more easterly of the two burnt mounds is almost circular, about 8m across with a hollow centre. The more westerly is 14m across and stands up to 1.5m high. It has been quarried into. There are traces of field walls and clearance heaps, but the detail is obscured by peat and heather. Across a low saddle to the SW this area of settlement runs into another, which occupies the upper valley of the Burn of Vatstrass, also called Homis Dale.

Most of the obvious evidence here is of relatively recent date, consisting of many upstanding and ruined krubs (small enclosures for the growing of vegetable plants), but the soil under and around these has produced quantities of prehistoric pottery, suggesting that some of these small enclosures occupy ancient sites. In addition there is a sizeable burnt mound on the SW side of the valley, beside a spring which creates a boggy area.

The area to be scheduled is irregular. It is bounded at its NE end by the W side of the public road. It measures a maximum of 630m NE-SW by 470m NW-SE, to include both of the houses and the possible third house site, the 3 burnt mounds and surrounding land with the krub enclosures, several stretches of walling and field clearance cairns, together with an area around all of these features in which further evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a fine example of a prehistoric unenclosed settlement, with considerable archaeological potential. The association of burnt mounds with houses is of particular interest, and may offer dating evidence, but this would require verification by excavation.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HZ 27 SW 3.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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