Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Troswick, standing stone 230m SSE of

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland South, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 59.9326 / 59°55'57"N

Longitude: -1.2721 / 1°16'19"W

OS Eastings: 440783

OS Northings: 1116620

OS Grid: HU407166

Mapcode National: GBR R26H.3SP

Mapcode Global: XHD49.VL5W

Entry Name: Troswick, standing stone 230m SSE of

Scheduled Date: 5 February 1954

Last Amended: 5 July 2012

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2045

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: standing stone

Location: Dunrossness

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland South

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument is a standing stone likely to date to the third or second millennium BC. It is a rough, irregular freestone block, 2.4m high, 1.3m wide at the base and up to 0.35m thick. It stands next to a field dyke at 10m above sea level, and about 120m from the coast to the east. 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 circular on plan, with a diameter of 10m, centred on the centre of the monument. The scheduling includes 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.

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. Packing stones are visible around the base of the stone. Excavations elsewhere have shown that other archaeological material, such as burial deposits, may lie at the base of the stone, which may also be surrounded by other 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/or important environmental information in the 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 are part of ceremonial or ritual activity. In addition, the position of many appears deliberately chosen to take advantage of important routeways, views and their intervisibility with other monuments, and some are likely to be part of a network of landmarks.

This monument has an interesting location on the coast and may mark a liminal location at the boundary between land and sea. Prehistoric monuments are scattered across this landscape, including a prehistoric house 250m to the southeast. Further study of the prehistoric monuments here may further our understanding of the inter-relationships between them and increase our knowledge of the way in which contemporary society used different parts of the landscape.

Associative characteristics

The Ordnance Survey 1st edition map depicts the standing 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 liminal location. 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



RCAHMS records the site as Troswick, standing stone, HU41NW5, Canmore ID 910. The Shetland Amenity Trust SMR records the site as Troswick, MSN637 (PrefRef 637).


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

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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