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Fetlar, Wick Of Aith, Giant's Grave

Ship Burial (Viking)(Possible)

Site Name Fetlar, Wick Of Aith, Giant's Grave

Classification Ship Burial (Viking)(Possible)

Alternative Name(s) The Viking's Grave

Canmore ID 1405

Site Number HU68NW 1

NGR HU 6391 8996

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Shetland Islands
  • Parish Fetlar
  • Former Region Shetland Islands Area
  • Former District Shetland
  • Former County Shetland

Archaeology Notes

HU68NW 1 6391 8996

(HU 6390 8997) Giant's Grave (T.I.)

OS 6" map, Shetland, 2nd ed., (1900).

A small knoll covered with rough pasture. It resembles a boat turned bottom uppermost, and there is a tradition among the local people that a giant was buried here with his boat inverted over him, and his money under his head.

Name Book 1878.

An oval mound, lying on the edge of the bank above the beach and locally known as "The Viking's Grave". It is composed of stones from the sea-shore, which are now very much overgrown with turf, lies with its main axis NE-SW, measuring roughly 32' by 19'. The site is traditionally associated with a sea-faring Viking who died in the neighbourhood.

A piece of stout bronze plate of pointed oval shape, with a stud in the centre, (PSAS 1932) and rivets from the site are now in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS). (PSAS 1961).

RCAHMS 1946, visited 1946.

Giant's Grave, a low mound as described by RCAHM.

Some years ago MrJ J Laurenson dug into the centre of the mound, and discovered a line of stones apparently forming part of the shape of a boat, and several dozen iron boat fastenings, one of which was attached to what Laurenson believes to be a piece of oak.(Information from Mr J J Laurenson, Aithbank, Fetlar.) Some of these fastenings were donated to the NMAS.

The mound is probably a Norse boat burial, but this assumption is based on hearsay evidence resulting from an inexpert exploration.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (NKB) 17 May 1969.

The bronze plate (PSAS 1932) could not be located but the iron fastenings (NKB) are definitely Viking boat rivets.

(David Clarke NMAS).

A mound aligned SW-NE, measuring 10.7m by 5.5m at the widest point. The SE side (seaward) appears fairly straight, with a lot of stone protruding on the SE side. Four stones suggest a straight face, and there is a drop of 0.75m on this side. On the NW side (upslope and landward) the mound has a height of 0.4m with very little stone visible. It has a curvilinear appearance. The 'bows' of this boat-shaped mound are at the SW end, the 'stern' being to the NE.

Information: Ms V Turner, Shetland Amenity Trust, 16 December 1991 (visited by V Turner, 7 June 1989).


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