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Sumburgh Airport

Carved Stone (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Sumburgh Airport

Classification Carved Stone (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) The Cletts; Betty Mowat's Croft; Old Scatness

Canmore ID 272939

Site Number HU31SE 21.01

NGR HU 3898 1065

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/272939

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

EARLY MEDIEVAL CARVED STONES PROJECT

Old Scatness 1, Shetland, Pictish symbol stone fragments

Measurements: H 0.34m +, W 0.37m, D 0.05m

Stone type: sandstone

Place of discovery: HU 3898 1065

Present location: Shetland Museum, Lerwick (OSB 2016.34210)

Evidence for discovery: found during excavations in 2002. It was face down on a floor surface in cell 4 of wheelhouse 11 of Pictish date.

Present condition: the two fragments fit together but the top edge is broken and the top of the carving is missing. There is damage to the left-hand and lower edges, and the surface generally is worn and flaking.

Description

These two fragments form part of a slab with sides tapering upwards and chamfered outwards from the front face A. The excavators suggest that the stone may originally have been an orthostat from one of the pier terminals in the wheelhouse, which may have been cast down as part of a Viking-age slighting of the building. The direction of the chamfer would suit a location as a pier orthostat.

Firmly incised on face A is a feral bear walking towards the right, carved with considerable detail and realism alongside the typically Pictish scroll joints. Pads and claws are shown on the feet, there are teeth in the gaping mouth, and the ear is rounded, but the eye has been worn away. The central area of the animal’s rounded back is missing, but the hind quarters are heavy and powerful. This bear is unique among the Pictish single-animal symbol stones.

Date: seventh century.

References: Fraser 2008, no 198.1; Scott & Ritchie 2009, no 7; Dockrill et al 2010, SF34210, 52, 83-4, 304-6, 313-15.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

EARLY MEDIEVAL CARVED STONES PROJECT

Old Scatness 2, Shetland, Pictish symbol stone fragment

Measurements: H 0.14m +, W 0.35m +, D 0.02m

Stone type: sandstone

Place of discovery: HU 3898 1065

Present location: Shetland Museum, Lerwick (OSB 2016.43719)

Evidence for discovery: found during excavations in 1995-2006, face down in rubble outside wheelhouse 11.

Present condition: all the edges are broken and the carved surface has flaked severely.

Description

Only a small part of the surface of this fragment survives, just enough to show the incised outline of part of the lower body of a possible salmon, with median line and two gills. The gills indicate that the salmon is facing left. Remains of other incised lines below the salmon suggest that there may have been at least one other symbol on the slab. This is the first possible salmon to be found among Pictish carved stones from the Northern Isles.

Date: seventh century.

References: Fraser 2008, no 198.4; Scott & Ritchie 2009, no 8; Dockrill et al 2010, SF43719, 306-7, 315.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

EARLY MEDIEVAL CARVED STONES PROJECT

Old Scatness 3, Shetland, Pictish symbol stone

Measurements: H 0.19m, W 0.24m, D 0.05m

Stone type: sandstone beach cobble

Place of discovery: HU 3898 1065

Present location: Shetland Museum, Lerwick (OSB 2016.8492)

Evidence for discovery: found during excavations in 1998, built into the kerb of a hearth in structure 5, in such a way that the carving would not have been visible. There is evidence to suggest that structure 5 belongs to a class of oracle-shrine (Ritchie 2003; Dockrill et al 2010, 358).

Present condition: some wear is present

Description

The carving is approximately central to the stone but at an angle to its axis. Lightly incised is a somewhat crude representation of a boar facing left. It has the stiff crest, long snout and straight tail of a primitive boar, and Bond suggests that the lappet under the snout is also a mark of an old breed (Dockrill et al 2010, 308). Faint circular incisions on the body may relate to the notion of spiral joints.

Date: seventh century.

References: Ritchie 2003; Fraser 2008, no 198.2; Scott & Ritchie 2009, no 9; Dockrill et al 2010, SF8492, 307-9, 314-15.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

EARLY MEDIEVAL CARVED STONES PROJECT

Old Scatness 5, Shetland, Pictish symbol pebble

Measurements: Diam 81- 86mm, D 20mm

Stone type: sandstone beach cobble

Place of discovery: HU 3898 1065

Present location: Shetland Museum, Lerwick (OSB 2016.390)

Evidence for discovery: found during excavations in 1995-2006.

Present condition: some wear is present.

Description

Lightly incised on and offcentre to this flat disc is what appears to be an attempt at a pentacle figure.

Date: seventh century.

References: Dockrill et al 2010, SF390, 311, 315.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

EARLY MEDIEVAL CARVED STONES PROJECT

Old Scatness 6, Shetland, possible cross-slab fragments

Measurements: A, H 0.15m+, W 0.17m+, D 0.06m; B, H 0.19m+, W 0.12m+, D 0.06m

Stone type: sandstone

Place of discovery: HU 3898 1065

Present location: Shetland Museum, Lerwick (OSB 2016.1086)

Evidence for discovery: found buried but unstratified outside the excavated area.

Present condition: some wear is present

Description

These two fragments do not join together but are so similar in carving technique that they are likely to belong to the same monument, perhaps a small cross-slab. A U-shaped groove has been carved, on fragment A to form the base of the shaft of a possible outline cross, and on B a possible barred arm terminal.

Date: seventh or eighth century.

References: Dockrill et al 2010, SF1086, 312, 315.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Archaeology Notes

HU31SE 21.01 3898 1065

In the course of the 1998 excavation of the later 'Pictish' multi-cellular building it was noted that one of the central hearth kerbstones carried a carving of a boar. The stone had been placed in such a way that the figure was hidden until the stone was removed from its position.

Sponsors: Historic Scotland, BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd, EC Objective 1, Robert Kiln Trust, Scottish Hydro-Electric plc, SNH, Shetland Amenity Trust, Shetland Enterprise Company, Shetland Islands Council, University of Bradford.

S J Dockrill, V E Turner and J M Bond 1998

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