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Broch View, homestead 140m south west of

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland South, Shetland Islands

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Coordinates

Latitude: 59.9286 / 59°55'43"N

Longitude: -1.3162 / 1°18'58"W

OS Eastings: 438320

OS Northings: 1116154

OS Grid: HU383161

Mapcode National: GBR R23H.FKR

Mapcode Global: XHD49.8PDX

Entry Name: Broch View, homestead 140m SW of

Scheduled Date: 30 March 2012

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13034

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: homestead

Location: Dunrossness

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland South

Traditional County: Shetland

Description

The monument comprises a homestead of probable late Bronze Age or early Iron Age date, most likely from sometime in the first millennium BC. The homestead survives as a penannular, grass-covered stony bank, 1.5m wide, enclosing an area 15m in diameter. Immediately to the north are the remains of a concentric bank and ditch, each about 1m wide. The monument is located at 40m above sea level on a south-facing slope, with views to Loch of Brow.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, 40m in diameter, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The above-ground elements of an electricity pole are specifically excluded, 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

This monument is a later prehistoric homestead with good evidence for internal structures. There is a strong likelihood that archaeological deposits associated with the monument's construction, use and abandonment are preserved. The remains can help us to understand more about domestic enclosures and the design, construction, phasing and use of later prehistoric dwellings. The interior retains high potential for the survival of extensive buried deposits, including both artefacts and ecofacts. In the outerworks, the bank is outside (rather than inside) the ditch, which indicates that the site may have had a ritual function.

The upstanding banks and house footings may contain evidence relating to the creation, use and abandonment of the settlement, helping to inform our understanding of the character of later prehistoric defended settlement, including local variations in domestic architecture and building use. Potential also exists for the survival of buried land surfaces beneath the enclosing bank and other standing features. These could preserve information about the environment before the site was constructed. Features cut into the ground, such as post-holes and pits, may contain archaeologically significant deposits that can further our understanding of society, ritual, economy, agriculture and domestic architecture, and may include human remains.

Pottery recovered from this site confirms that there was activity here in the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age.

Contextual characteristics

Homesteads like this, though common in other parts of Scotland, are extremely rare in Shetland. Our understanding of the prehistoric settlement pattern in Shetland is dominated by prehistoric oval houses and the visually spectacular brochs. This homestead therefore has the potential significantly to enhance our understanding of the development of settlement and society during the prehistoric period.

The arrangement of the external bank outside the ditch is most common on early prehistoric henges, of which none are currently known in Shetland. The monument is therefore an extremely rare and important survival, with potential to provide insight into the early, as well as later prehistory of Shetland.

The closest parallels for a rim sherd of a shouldered jar from East Longfield are from Mavis Grind and South House, Sumburgh. This would suggest a date in the Early Bronze Age or Early Iron Age, indicating that some of the activity on the homestead predates the nearby brochs on Loch of Brow and at Lunabister, thus filling an apparent gap in the settlement chronology in the immediate vicinity.

It is possible that the freshwater Spiggie Loch and the Loch of Brow, now separated by a moss, were once joined together as a single voe. If this was once the case, the inhabitants of this site would have had a good view and easy access down to the eastern end of the voe. The situation of the monument contrasts with that of the nearby brochs of Lunabister and Loch of Brow, with which this site is intervisible.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular domestic life in the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age, and the relationship between brochs and homesteads. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand settlement and society in the later prehistoric period.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

Rachel Pickering found a rim sherd on the site, which she has reported as Treasure Trove. Ann MacSween has prepared a report on the pottery, which is on the paper file.

RCAHMS does not record the site. The Shetland Amenity Trust SMR records the site as East Longfield, MonUID MSN 6838; PrefRef 7768.

References

Cracknell, S and Smith, B 1983, 'Archaeological Investigations at Mavis Grind, Shetland', Glasgow Archaeological Journal 10, 13-39.

Downes, J and Lamb, R 2000, Prehistoric Houses at Sumburgh in Shetland: Excavations at Sumburgh Airport 1967-74, Oxford, Oxbow.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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