Ancient Monuments

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Loch of Tingwall, standing stone 130m east of Garth Lodge

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland Central, Shetland Islands

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Coordinates

Latitude: 60.1606 / 60°9'38"N

Longitude: -1.2589 / 1°15'31"W

OS Eastings: 441238

OS Northings: 1142028

OS Grid: HU412420

Mapcode National: GBR R17W.HTL

Mapcode Global: XHD35.0WQ2

Entry Name: Loch of Tingwall, standing stone 130m E of Garth Lodge

Scheduled Date: 5 February 1954

Last Amended: 16 March 2012

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2040

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: standing stone

Location: Tingwall

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland Central

Traditional County: Shetland

Description

The monument is a standing stone likely to date to the third or second millennium BC. It stands 2.05m high and is relatively straight-sided, with its major axis aligned approximately NNE-SSW. It stands by the side of a public road at around 20m above sea level on low-lying flat land 150m west of the S end of the Loch of Tingwall, near the narrow neck of land that separates the Loch of Tingwall from the Loch of Asta. The monument was first scheduled in 1954 but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is a part-circle on plan, with a radius of 5m, centred on the centre of the monument, but not extending west beyond the edge of the road. The scheduling includes the standing stone described above and an area around it within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of a post-and-wire fence to allow for its maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is a fine example of a standing stone and survives in excellent condition. A low mound about 0.5m high extends for 2m-3m around the standing stone and small stones protruding from the mound may be packing stones to help keep it in place. We know of no evidence that the stone has been moved and it is therefore likely to stand within its original socket, probably a shallow depression or pit. In addition to the visible packing stones, other archaeological material, including possibly burial deposits, may be present at the base of the stone. The stone may be surrounded by related features, including smaller stone settings, pits, burials and timber structures. It is clear that in some instances, single standing stones represent the only surviving component of a larger stone monument (such as a stone alignment). The potential presence of associated artefacts and important environmental information in a pit beneath the stone, or in surrounding pits, reinforces the potential of the monument.

Considerable effort would have been required to transport, position and erect the stone, demonstrating that it was a significant and worthwhile achievement to those who were responsible. Where it has been possible to date comparable monuments, they typically derive from the third or second millennium BC. The monument therefore has an inherent capacity to inform our understanding of this period, and may have the potential to further our knowledge of contemporary ceremonial and ritual landscapes.

Contextual characteristics

In Scotland as a whole, standing stones are very often located with reference to ritual or burial monuments, such as henges, stone circles, cairns and other types of burial, and there are grounds to believe that many played a part in ceremonial or ritual activity. In addition, the position of many standing stones appears to have been chosen to take advantage of routeways, views and inter-visibility with other monuments, and some are likely to be part of a network of landmarks. It has been argued that the position of standing stones and similar contemporary monuments often coincides with observation lines upon the rising or setting points of the sun or the moon on a distant horizon at key dates in the year (for example, winter solstice).

This monument has an interesting location close to the narrow neck of land separating two lochs that fill the valley floor. There is a concentration of other prehistoric monuments in the vicinity, including a burnt mound 800m to the south and a two-storey cist grave 1km to the south. Further study of the prehistoric monuments here may further our understanding of the nature of their inter-relationships and increase our knowledge of the way in which contemporary society may have used different parts of the landscape.

Associative characteristics

The Ordnance Survey 1st edition map depicts the standing stone. It is known locally as 'The Murder Stone'.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the ritual and ceremonial landscape of Shetland in the third or second millennium BC. This standing stone is also important because it lies in a landscape that contains a relatively high density of other types of prehistoric monument. The loss of this monument would significantly impede our ability to understand the nature of earlier prehistoric ritual and ceremonial practice, both in Shetland and in Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the site as HU44SW 13. The Shetland Amenity Trust SMR reference is MSN671 (PrefRef 895).

References

RCAHMS, 1946 Twelfth Report with an Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Orkney and Shetland. Edinburgh. 121

Ritchie, A, 1997 Shetland. Exploring Scotland's Heritage Series. Edinburgh. 130.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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