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Shapinsay, Setter Noost

Midden (Period Unassigned), Structure (Period Unassigned), Comb (Iron Age), Lamp, Unidentified Pottery (Iron Age)

Site Name Shapinsay, Setter Noost

Classification Midden (Period Unassigned), Structure (Period Unassigned), Comb (Iron Age), Lamp, Unidentified Pottery (Iron Age)

Alternative Name(s) Balfour Castle

Canmore ID 2395

Site Number HY41NE 13

NGR HY 4730 1621

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Shapinsay
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY41NE 13 4730 1621.

Exposed in the shoreline for about 17.0m at HY 4730 1621, are several slabs on edge and fragments of drystone walling, evidently of an early structure of uncertain classification. About 20.0m to the E are the remains of a lime kiln.

Visited by OS(AA) 5 October 1972

In the low shoreline SW of Balfour Castle, active erosion has revealed midden deposits and drystone structures forming a layer 1.3m thick and 17m in length. Prominent at the W end is the exterior wall-face of what appears to be a large round-house. An Iron Age sherd found in the section is in Balfour Castle.

RCAHMS 1987, visited November 1985

HY 473 162 At Setter Noust drystone walling suggesting an early structure was exposed on the shore for a distance of c 17m. Tumbled stone is present and a midden was found to contain burnt stone, pottery and bone, extending over a distance of 40m. This is clearly being exposed by coastal erosion. Above the shoreline, grassed-over humps and bumps suggest a large settlement covering an area c 40 x 40m. Pottery and a sandstone lamp recovered from the site by the owner strongly suggest that it is of Iron Age date.

Sponsors: Historic Scotland and SNH, through Land Use Consultants.

B Simpson 1998

Iron Age comb HY 473 162 Fragment of single-sided antler comb discovered by chance. The object is decorated with ring-and-dots on both faces; the central dot perforates the plate. All of the teeth are broken. The size (H 23mm) relates the comb to a small group of miniature combs from Scotland which are different from the larger, and probably later,

composite variety. Combs of this smaller type come in a range of shapes. Some are solid whilst others have open backs; some have rounded backs, others rectilinear. Although the original shape is difficult to reconstruct, the Shapinsay comb appears to be open backed and rectilinear. Eroding Iron Age settlement remains have been noted in the area.

Claimed as Treasure Trove (TT.42/04) and allocated to Orkney Museum.

A Heald 2005


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