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Unst, Soterberg, Harold's Wick

Field System (Period Unassigned), House (Norse), Mound (Period Unassigned), Settlement (Period Unassigned), Unidentified Pottery (Iron Age)

Site Name Unst, Soterberg, Harold's Wick

Classification Field System (Period Unassigned), House (Norse), Mound (Period Unassigned), Settlement (Period Unassigned), Unidentified Pottery (Iron Age)

Canmore ID 169

Site Number HP61SW 20

NGR HP 6411 1146

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

HP61SW 20 6411 1146

At HP 6411 1149 on a low green Knoll, is a ruined enclosure of comparatively recent date. Stones deep in the Knoll suggest it may lie on an earlier structure. Alleged Iron Age pottery sherds have been found in the NE fringe of the Knoll by Mr Owers (information from V E Owers, Hamar, Baltasound); one of red clay is roughly ornamented.

Visited by OS (AA) 5 May 1969.

HP 641 114. A multi-period farm mound at Soterberg on the southern shore of Haroldswick was excavated. This site, with substantial deposits, had previously been the object of at least one small investigation by a local person who found Iron Age pottery and a few objects from the Norse period.

The objective of the trial excavation in 1997 was to establish an overview of the character, potential and chronology of the site. Well-preserved parts of a Norse house structure survived and a number of trenches were established across the structure.

The Norse house structure is interpreted as a Viking longhouse and was superimposed by the fragmentary remains of later structures. Underneath the presumed Viking longhouse there were fragments of Iron Age structures. None of these could be dated with any certainty. While the artefact assemblage from the Iron Age mainly consists of pottery, the Norse finds are dominated by stone objects, especially of steatite and schist. They include a number of sherds from circular and sub-rectangular vessels, loom weights, spindle whorls, line sinkers, baking plates and whetstones.

Sponsors: Shetland Amenity Trust, Shetland Enterprise Company, Sandison Trust, Copenhagen University, Glasgow University.

A-C Larsen and S Stummann 1997.


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