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Unst, Sandwick

Settlement (Norse)

Site Name Unst, Sandwick

Classification Settlement (Norse)

Canmore ID 141

Site Number HP60SW 9

NGR HP 6187 0223

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

HP60SW 9 6187 0223

See also HP60SW 12.

HP 619 023. Norse house, Sands of Sandwick. It is a mere foundation 50' to 60' long with an interior width of about 11'. There are traces of outbuildings. (Possibly associated with HP60SW 12 - kitchen-midden).

J Stewart 1954

A Viking bone comb (ARC 65493) found in 1960 by W R Jamieson, Muness, an iron hand axe (ARC 6616) dated to 1000 AD by Historisk Museum, Universitet Bergen, and a Viking comb (ARC 6617) found by Dr R Saunders in 1965, at Sandwick, Unst, are in the Shetland Museum.

Shetland Museum accessions register.

The alleged Norse house is at HP 6186 0226. It occupies the crown of a stony knoll on the beach and is defined by drystone walls 0.6m maximum height, c.1.6m probable width. It measures 16.0m by about 3.5m internally. The E. wall is completely covered by a pile of debris. There are traces of annexes and enclosure walls, and c.60.0m to the SE are the amorphous remains of what has probably been an associated building apparently measuring about 6.5m by 3.5m in which midden material can be seen.

Surveyed at 1/10.000 scale.

Mr Jamieson indicated approximately where the comb was found in an area of sand dunes at Sandwick Links (HP 618 023). He could not remember the exact find spot. According to Mr Henderson (T Henderson, Curator, Shetland Museum) who received the information from Dr Saunders (a summer visitor) the other comb and the axe came from approx. HP 6185 0224, to the SW of the Norse house. Local tradition asserts that there was once a church in this locality, but this is probably due to the discovery of several crouched inhumations in the area centred HP 618 022, many years ago (R Niven Spence, Uyeasound) of which there is now no trace.

Visited by OS (AA), 7 May 1969.


Excavation (1978 - 1980)

Excavations of a longhouse and associated yard at Sandwick by G Bigelow.

G F Bigelow 1978; 1979; 1980.


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