Around 50 more historical sites are likely to be scheduled for the first time in Shetland, following a visit throughout May by Historic Scotland’s scheduling and marine team.
The team was in the islands to assess which sites are of national importance and should be added to the schedule, which means they are protected by law.
Head of scheduling and marine Olwyn Owen said: “Local people in Unst took members of the team to see several Viking longhouses which have been newly discovered. Unst is one of very few places in Scotland where the remains of Norse settlement survive, and nowhere else have so many houses been identified. At least two of these exciting new discoveries will now be scheduled as monuments of national importance.
“When deciding what to schedule, we take account of a wide range of criteria including archaeological, artistic, traditional, historic, aesthetic, scientific and social factors. The islands are extraordinarily rich in history and archaeology with over 12,000 recorded sites, and we want to make sure that the most important sites and monuments are preserved for future generations to enjoy.
“The team received a wonderful warm welcome from the people of Shetland who were really interested in our work and keen to share with us their knowledge of their own heritage.”
As well as visiting and assessing sites that might be scheduled for the first time, the team visited about 120 monuments that are already scheduled to update the maps and documentation and to make sure that the boundaries of the protected areas are clear and accurate. In total, the team visited approximately 200 sites and met many owners and land managers.
Shetland currently has 365 scheduled monuments, ranging from prehistoric cairns and brochs, through to defences built during World War II. Many of the finest monuments were scheduled a long time ago and so many of the maps and descriptions need to be updated.
Back in Edinburgh, the team is now reviewing the records and photographs from four weeks of fieldwork and deciding which monuments to add to the schedule and which to re-schedule to bring the maps and documentation up to modern standards.