Shetland Museum

You are here: Shetland Museum > Collections > Archaeology > Gazetteer > Neolithic/Bronze Age Ritual and Funerary

Printer-friendly link
Shetland Islands Council
Site to search:

terms matched
Neolithic/Bronze Age Ritual and Funerary

27 Muckle Heog, Unst, cairns HP630108, HP631107
On the summit of the hill are the remains of a large cairn which was excavated last century and produced bones and steatite pottery. Not far to the NW is a heel-shaped cairn with traces of the facade showing, and the remains of two cists, but no trace of a chamber.

28 Rounds of Tivla, Unst, cremation cemetery HP616107
Downhill from a group of three round cairns, one containing a cist, lies this group of three circular earthworks. Only one retains its earlier recorded form, and this consists of three low concentric banks, with two shallow ditches between, surrounding a central stony spread some 9m in diameter. The ruined sites nearby were apparently of similar character. This may be a Bronze Age burial monument of a type related to the enclosed cremation cemeteries of more southern parts.

29 Hill of Caldback, Unst, chambered cairn HP607067
Two heel-shaped cairns stand on this hill. The one on the summit is badly dilapidated, but measures about 16m across, with a facade on the eastern side. There are no clear signs of cist or chamber. The lower cairn, at the foot of the slope on the west side of the hill, is better preserved, and of similar dimensions. The facade is framed by two orthostats, and the cairn is unusual in having three cists, but no entrance passage and chamber. This is the only definite example of the combination of heel-shaped cairn and cists.

30 Warlee, Unst, chambered cairn HP596051
A smaller cairn, 10m in diameter, with vague traces of a central chamber. A small oval foundation on the north side is later.

31 Bordastubble, Burragarth, Unst, stone HP578034
Possibly the most massive of the Shetland standing stones, this example is of gneiss, stands 3.8m high and is up to 9.7m thick. Traces of packing stones can be seen at the foot of the stone, but it is not certain that these are original, rather than a later attempt to prop up the block, which leans towards the south-west.

32 Clivocast, Unst, standing stones HP606007, HP604005
A narrow stone, 3m tall but only 0.9 m wide at the base, stands on the slopes above Uyea Sound. A second, squatter, monolith stands down slope. A possible Viking grave was found many years ago near the latter stone.

33. Brekon, Yell, cairns HP528053
A rather ruinous oval house is one of the features of this sand-dune area, which also has several substantial but rather featureless cairns and enclosures, as well as a possible Viking grave.

34.Gutcher, Yell, standing stone HU548985
A modest standing stone, of grey gneiss, overlooks the ferry crossing to Fetlar.

35. Lumbister, Yell, stone alignment HU487964
On an area of grass to the east of a ruined sheep pen is a linear setting of small boulders. These are arranged in three parallel lines running from NE to SW; each about 60m long and spaced about 15m apart. The central line is crossed by a short line of larger boulders, oriented N to S and more closely spaced. This is the best example in Shetland of a type of monument more common in Caithness.

36 Windhouse, Yell, chambered cairn HU487917
This heel-shaped cairn has been built on a steep slope, with the facade, built on very large blocks, facing W, down slope. The body of the cairn merges with the slope behind. There is a partly excavated broch by the large ruined house on the hilltop above.

37 Haltadans, Stackaberg, Fetlar, circle HU618928
A ring of large blocks surrounds a flat area, within which is a low circular earthen bank. In the centre are two large blocks of stone, standing side by side. The date, period and function of this monument are unknown.

38 Ripple Stone, Fetlar, standing stone HU627905
A 2.3m tall block of schist, this is an unusually slender standing stone for Shetland, being only 1 m by 0.4m at the base, and tapering above this.

39 Skaw Voe, Whalsay, standing stone HU589665
A large boulder, 1.5m high, stands 50m from the shore, and nearby are two fallen or broken stones which once stood upright.

40 Pettigarths Field, Yoxie, Whalsay, cairn HU585653
On the rise above the Benie Hoose (2) is a miniature heel-shaped cairn, reduced to its foundations. The cairn has a diameter of only 5m, and the chamber, which is polygonal, is 1 m across. It has a narrow passage leading to it from the facade. A cist, possibly a later addition, lies to the N of the chamber, and has at one time been covered by an extension to the mound. Only a few stones left of the covering material remain.

41 Brough, Whalsay, cup-marked stone HU555651
Two groups of pecked cup-marks occur on the E side of a rock outcrop. There are at least 30 marks, in two groups. Such cup-marks, believed to be of Bronze Age date, are very rare in Shetland.

42 Ward of Symbister, Whalsay, chambered cairn HU533620
A rather ruinous cairn, with traces of a kerb, in a superb location.

43 Battle Pund, Out Skerries, enclosure HU684713
This irregular setting of boulders, some 13m across, recalls Haltadans (Fetlar) (37), and may be of Bronze Age date.

44 Housetter, North Roe, chambered cairns HU362855
A sadly ruined cairn, with the facade facing E. The overall diameter has been about 9m, and the inner chamber, of trefoil plan, is 3m by 2 internally. The nearby Giant's Stones are the terminal orthostats of a similar cairn which has otherwise been completely scattered. High on the rocky hill to the W of the Giant's Stones is a very well preserved, but minuscule, chambered cairn (HU 360855).

45 Ronas Hill, North Roe, chambered cairn HU305835
This, one of the best preserved chambered tombs in Shetland, stands on the summit of the highest hill in the islands. The chamber, which is built of large granite blocks, is still roofed, although much of the cairn material has been scattered over the surrounding slopes. Doubtless the chamber has survived because it provides a shelter in an exposed spot. The interior is rectangular, 1m by .25, and 1m high. A remnant of the entrance passage leads into the chamber, and this is the inner end of a formerly longer passage, which led from the outside of a cairn of about 15m in diameter. There is little trace of the outer edge of the cairn, which may have been round or heel-shaped in plan.

46 Hamnavoe, Eshaness, standing stones HU243806
"The Giant's Stones" are a pair of upright slabs, one 1 .gin tall, the other 2.4m. A third stone, recorded in 1774, has since vanished. The stones lie in an E to W line, but the significance of this is not clear. They may be sailing marks for the bay below.

47 Muckla Water, Eshaness, chambered cairn HU222788
This cairn, also known as the March Cairn, is an almost square example of the heel-shaped type. The remains of a facade can be seen on the N side, framed by uprights, but excavation proved that the small square chamber within was entered not from the facade but from the E side, a most unusual arrangement.

^ Back to the Top ^

48 Yamna Field, Gluss, standing stone HU334773
This tapering granite boulder, 1.6m high, stands on a western shoulder of the hill amid a litter of smaller blocks. Its location is not particularly prominent.

49 Punds Water, Mangaster, chambered cairn HU325713
This is the best surviving heel-shaped cairn on Mainland (only Muckle Ward on the uninhabited island of Vementry (53) survives better) and represents an extreme type of plan. The body of the cairn is 15m by 12, and has the outer ends of the facade prolonged into "horns" reminiscent of cairns in Caithness. Within the body of the cairn, and entered from a passage leading from the centre of the concave facade, is a small rectangular chamber with two alcoves. The main compartment is about 2m square.

50 Islesburgh, chambered cairn HU693685
One of the finest heel-shaped cairns, this was excavated in 1959 and its plan is still very clear. It displays the classic semi-circular plan with concave facade. In front of the entrance passage are some stones which may represent blocking dating from the abandonment of the cairn. The entrance passage leads into a roughly rectangular chamber. All of the slabs which would have roofed the passage and chamber have gone.

51 Busta, Brae, standing stone HU349674
A huge monolith of granite, 3.2m high and about 1.6m wide and broad at the base, stands on the slope of the hill, near to another large block, which may have been a companion stone, now fallen. The Busta stone is a useful sailing mark, although surely far too large to have been erected for that purpose alone.

52 Lunning, Lunnasting, standing stone HU506668
A 2m tail stone, of grey conglomerate.

53 Muekle Ward, Vementry, chambered cairn HU295609
Perhaps the best-preserved heel shaped cairn in Shetland, with diameter of just over 10m, this cairn displays the classic concave facade facing SE and a narrow entrance passage leading to a polygonal chamber. There are traces of two phases of building, with an original round cairn later elaborated to provide a heel-shaped plan. Interestingly, the entrance passage appears to have been sealed by the facade, suggesting the chamber was already out of use when the herel-shaped was introduced. The facade is anchored at each end by rock outcrops.

54 East Hill of Bellister, chambered cairn HU492592
A possible heel-shaped cairn, with a straight facade on the SE side and a few large stones, possibly indicating a chamber and passage, within a tumble of smaller stones 10m by 12.

55 North Ward of Noonsbrough, chambered cairn HU292579
A mound of tumbled rubble marks the site of a heel-shaped cairn, the outer and inner kerbs defined by large blocks of stone and clear traces of a facade to the SE. A more recent watch-tower, now in ruins, lies above the likely location of the chamber of the cairn.

56 The Spinner, Sandness, cairn HU215562
This circular cairn, of 8m diameter, seem to have been bounded by a kerb of large blocks. A central cist, 1.4m by 1.1, can be seen, and is built of large slabs. This is probably a Bronze Age cairn, though any finds made when the chamber was dug out long ago have not survived.

57 Skellister, South Nesting, standing stone HU463552
A 3m tall standing stone, consisting of an irregular, pointed block of sandstone. Locally called "The Auld Wife", from its resemblance, in silhouette, to a stooped old woman.

58 Cattapund Knowe, Sandness Road, long cairn HU247516
Under the walls of a group of sheep pens lie the remains of a long cairn. This has been reduced to a single course of stones, and is somewhat less than impressive, but can be seen to have measured some 40m by 15. The long cairn may have been built by joining a pair of round cairns, and traces of a cist can be seen near the southern end.

59 Gallow Hill, Walls, chambered cairns HU257507
A 10m diameter cairn, of round plan, with a large cist or ruined chamber in the centre. The central structure, and the edge of the cairn, are built of very large slabs. A second cairn lies to the E, of similar size but even more badly ruined.

60 Ward of Culswick, chambered cairn HU263462
The inner chamber and entrance passage can be seen within the rubble of this ruined cairn.

61 Wester Skeld, standing stone HU302433
This granite block, 2.8m high and up to 1.9m broad, is of particular interest due to the discovery nearby of a hoard of six polished stone knives of late Neolithic date.

62 Murder Stone, Tingwall, standing stone HU412420
A stone 2m high, with a rectangular cross-section, stands immediately to the E of the road. There is a tale, probably recently invented, which relates a Norse tradition of a pardon for murderers who could run from the Law Ting Holm to the Murder Stone unscathed, against the efforts of the victim's family and friends.

63 Yaa Field, East Burra, standing stone HU378328
A block of gneiss, 2m high and 1 m broad, but only O. 15m thick in places, this stone is visible for a considerable distance in most directions.

64 Mid Field, West Burra, standing stone. HU370326
Of similar height and material to the stone on Yaa field (63) (which is visible from here), this upright slab is much thicker, being almost square in section. Local legends ascribes to the stone the quality of indestructibility, a power which nature is slowly contradicting.

65 Ward of Scousburgh, chambered cairn HU 388188
One of the few prehistoric cairns in the south mainland, this is a scattered mound of rubble, with clear traces of a kerb defining an original diameter of 9.5m.

66 Troswick, standing stone HU408166
A slab of sandstone 2.3m high, this stone stands close beside a field dyke, and may have functioned as a boundary marker, although it is hard to explain why, if this is the case, it is not incorporated into the nearby wall. Its size would suggest that it is of considerable antiquity, and has been used as a landmark, rather than erected to form one.

67 Hill of Cruester, Bressay, standing stone HU490428
A 3m high block of sandstone, with a distinct tilt.

^ Back to the Top ^

© Shetland Museum, Lower Hillhead, Lerwick, Shetland ZE1 0EL, UK.
tel: +44 (0)1595 695057  fax: +44 (0)1595 696729  email: