Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Conisgarth, house 30m NNW of

A Scheduled Monument in North Isles, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.7195 / 60°43'10"N

Longitude: -0.8637 / 0°51'49"W

OS Eastings: 462096

OS Northings: 1204573

OS Grid: HP620045

Mapcode National: GBR S06D.QT4

Mapcode Global: XHF7C.5TZP

Entry Name: Conisgarth, house 30m NNW of

Scheduled Date: 17 March 1976

Last Amended: 26 September 2012

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3840

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: house

Location: Unst

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: North Isles

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument is a prehistoric house, visible as an upstanding feature represented by an oval turf-covered wall. The house was probably in use some time between 3000 BC and AD 500. The monument lies about 30m above sea level on a gentle east-facing slope, close to the Burn of Vatsdeild and some 350m from the east coast of Unst. The monument was originally scheduled in 1976 but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the monument is being rescheduled now to clarify the extent of the scheduled area.

The house is sub-circular in shape and measures 7.5m by 5m internally within turf-covered walls some 0.5m-2m wide. There is a possible entrance on the east. A quartz core was found next to a rabbit burrow on the NE side of the house.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, 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.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

This monument survives in good condition in reverted improved grassland. The house will contain the remains of foundations, floor surfaces and associated pits and middens and has the potential to provide insight into how prehistoric houses were designed, constructed and used. The buried remains may include artefacts and environmental evidence that can help us understand how people lived at this site, how they farmed and used the natural environment, and what goods they exchanged with other groups. Researchers may he able to date some of the buried remains and determine whether occupation of the site was broken by one or more periods of disuse.

Contextual characteristics

The monument's importance is enhanced by its proximity to another prehistoric house only some 80m to the west. Indeed, this monument lies within a landscape that is exceptionally rich in archaeological remains dating from the prehistoric period to the 19th century. The long sequence of human use and occupation of this area can provide insight into how people interacted with the landscape and the sea, and how the nature of that interaction may have developed and changed over time.

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 of prehistoric settlement and landuse. The monument comprises a single prehistoric house, but it has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the wider archaeological landscape in an area rich in remains. It has the potential to improve our understanding of the distribution of settlement, the structural techniques used to build houses, changes in the character of settlement over time, and the relationship of houses to other features such as cairns. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand settlement in Unst.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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