Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Gallow Hill, chambered cairn 650m SSW of, Unst

A Scheduled Monument in North Isles, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.681 / 60°40'51"N

Longitude: -0.9549 / 0°57'17"W

OS Eastings: 457188

OS Northings: 1200204

OS Grid: HP571002

Mapcode National: GBR R0ZH.YWT

Mapcode Global: XHF7J.0S0P

Entry Name: Gallow Hill, chambered cairn 650m SSW of, Unst

Scheduled Date: 2 March 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7667

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain)

Location: Unst

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: North Isles

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument comprises the remains of a prehistoric chambered burial cairn.

The cairn, which is situated on the shoulder of Gallow Hill, is of the distinctive Shetland heel-shaped plan. The concave facade faces SSE, and measures about 15m in length and 10.5m from front to back. Traces of the outer kerb are visible all round the cairn, and within the body of the cairn are signs of an inner kerb or revetment.

Several larger stones mark the line of the entrance passage, leading from the facade towards the burial chamber, which is clearly visible. It is square, 1m across, and edged by single large blocks. The cairn has been somewhat scattered, but sufficient stone survives for it to be a distinctive feature on the bare hillside.

The area to be scheduled is a circle 40m across, to include the cairn and an area around it in which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a well-preserved heel-shaped Neolithic burial cairn. Although its main chamber may have been cleared, the monument retains considerable potential to provide information about prehistoric ritual and funerary practices and about contemporary environmental conditions and land-use.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HP 50 SE 17.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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