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Lambhoga Head

Building(S) (Period Unassigned), Farmstead (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Promontory Fort (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Site Name Lambhoga Head

Classification Building(S) (Period Unassigned), Farmstead (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Promontory Fort (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Canmore ID 915

Site Number HU41SW 1

NGR HU 4079 1395

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

HU41SW 1 4079 1395.

HU 409 140. 'Lambhoga Head... is a fortified promontory consisting of 1-2 acres of level sward surrounded by sheer cliffs. The narrow isthmus is cut by a ditch 20 feet wide joining two precipitous creeks. The upcast forms a wall 54 paces longer. On the north side of the promontory a light wall flanks the side cliff for 58 paces. Inside the main wall on the north side is a rectangular house, 40 feet by 18 feet, with a door at its SE corner. There is a less definite rectangle, 20 feet by 12 feet, on the south side.'

J Stewart 1956.

All that remains of this possible fortification at HU 4078 1396 is a depression severing the promontory from the mainland. This is almost certainly natural, possibly caused by a fault in the rock beneath. Although over-looked from the west, the site is in a fairly strong defensive position. The footings of the buildings on the seaward side of the depression (as described by the RCAHMS) appear to have been very substantial. Possibly the remains of a farmstead, although very exposed. Unable to positively identify.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (AA) 21 June 1968.


Note (2 March 2016 - 18 May 2016)

Lambhoga Head is a large precipitous promontory on the E coast of the southern end of Shetland and has been fortified with a wall or rampart drawn straight across the neck connecting it the mainland. The neck is about 35m wide and lies at the W corner of the roughly sub-rectangular summit, which measures about 140m from NW to SE by 90m transversely (1.1ha). The defences comprise a single grass-grown rampart about 40m in length, which faces out SW onto an essentially natural ditch about 6m broad extending from side to side of the neck. There is no causeway across this feature and the position of the entrance through the rampart is not known. A substantial range of stone rectangular buildings lies immediately to the rear of the rampart, and what may have been a second is set at right-angles to it parallel to the cliff immediately NE of its NW end. This second range and the SE end of the first have been severely robbed, in part probably to build a relatively modern dyke across the landward side of the neck, but the whole of the surface of the promontory has also been cultivated in shallow curved rigs. The date and purpose of this work are unclear, and it is perhaps more likely to be an undocumented castle rather than an earlier fort.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 18 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC4183


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