Ancient Monuments

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Soterberg, settlement and field system, Unst

A Scheduled Monument in North Isles, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.7811 / 60°46'51"N

Longitude: -0.8246 / 0°49'28"W

OS Eastings: 464110

OS Northings: 1211470

OS Grid: HP641114

Mapcode National: GBR S097.QQQ

Mapcode Global: XHF75.P8RY

Entry Name: Soterberg, settlement and field system, Unst

Scheduled Date: 2 March 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7662

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: house

Location: Unst

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: North Isles

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument comprises a large mound containing the remains of a sequence of settlements and an area surrounding this with remains of associated fields.

The mound, which has been partly excavated on two occasions, most recently in 1996, contains settlement remains from the Iron Age, the Viking or early Norse period and the Medieval period. The site appears to have housed one substantial farmhouse and associated buildings on each of these occasions, and it is possible that occupation was almost continuous for the entire period.

A substantial assemblage of Iron Age and Medieval artefacts has been recovered, with some items which appear to be of Viking date, although the more recent excavations appear to have stopped just above the main early Norse levels. On the rocky hillslope around the mound are tumbled field walls which are presumably associated with some of the several phases of use of the settlement site.

The area to be scheduled is a square of side 50m aligned NE-SW, to include the settlement mound and part of the area around it in which field walls are visible and in which other evidence relating to the use of the site 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 rare example of a site demonstrated long occupancy, stretching from the middle Iron Age to the Medieval period and including structures of probable early Norse date identifiable on field characteristics. It has the added significance of apparently contemporary field boundaries nearby.

It gains additional importance as a member of a group of probably early Norse sites on the island of Unst. The important evidence regarding pre-Norse and Norse period settlement and agricultural economy which this monument can provide could be further expanded by comparative study of the related monuments in the island, several of which are being scheduled at this time.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HP 61 SW 20.


Larsen, A-C. and Stummann Hansen, S. (1997) 'Soterberg, Haroldswick, Unst, Iron Age and Norse settlements', Discovery Excav Scot, 70.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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