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Introduction to Shetland Archaeology

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Introduction to Shetland Archaeology Neolithic & Bronze Age 2 Neolithic & Bronze Age Between c.4000BC & c.600BC Marked the beginning of a more settled farming ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Shetland Archaeology


1
Introduction to Shetland Archaeology
  • Neolithic Bronze Age 2

2
Neolithic Bronze Age
  • Between c.4000BC c.600BC
  • Marked the beginning of a more settled farming
    existence, permanent field boundaries
    settlements appear.
  • Diet dominated by crops domesticated animals
    but still includes wild resources e.g. sea food.
  • Metal working (copper alloy bronze) in Scotland
    begins c. 2000BC but stone tools still routinely
    used.

3
Clothing personal equipment
  • Reconstructions of the clothing and appearance of
    Otzi (the Neolithic iceman found in the Alps
    near the Austro-Italian border in 1991).

4
Clothing personal equipment
  • Among equipment found with Otzi
  • Flint knife
  • Birch bark containers
  • 1.82m bow quiver with arrows
  • Tree-bast string net
  • More information on
  • Otzi

5
Pottery
  • Made from coils of clay with tempers (grit,
    shell etc) added to bind it.
  • Fired in a bonfire kiln a pit lined with
    sticks, straw and charcoal, the air dried pottery
    is placed inside then more straw etc packed
    around it. The fire is lit and sealed over with
    turf.
  • Red pottery indicates oxygen penetrating the turf
    seal during firing, black indicates a well sealed
    oxygen-free firing.

Neolithic bowl (Sumburgh)
Bronze Age cremation urn (Flemington, Kergord)
6
Rough stone tools
  • Practical everyday tools, these continued in use
    through the Bronze Age

Examples from Gruting school excavation (top) and
Sumburgh (bottom), dating from the Neolithic and
Bronze age respectively.
7
Polished stone tools
  • Generally show little or no wear and are
    thought to be ceremonial rather than functional
    objects

Shetland knives (unique to Shetland), made from
highly polished felsite, these examples were
found near Walls
Neolithic polished stone axes, from the
mainland, Angus (top), and Shetland,
Cunningsburgh (below).
8
Polished Stone Axe (Levenwick)
Neolithic polished stone axe found at Virdi
field, Levenwick during peat cutting in 1919
Location where the axe was found.
9
Polished Stone Axe (South Nesting)
  • South Nesting blog entry

10
Making sense of prehistoric landscapes
  • Over the last 20yrs archaeologists have been
    increasingly interested in making sense of
    landscapes as they may have been experienced in
    the past.
  • The following slides introduce some recent work
    Simon (Clarke) and I have been doing on the
    Neolithic Bronze Age landscapes of Shetland,
    specifically Stanydale temple and the houses
    and chambered cairns at Islesburgh and
    Pundswater.

11
Stanydale Temple
Following slides based on our 2009 conference
paper (full version online) A Processional but
not Processual Approach to Stanydale Neolithic
Temple
12
Stanydale Temple
  • Neolithic or early Bronze Age structure
  • Originally roofed, using non-native timber,
    probably driftwood
  • Monumental in scale, 3 times larger than a
    typical house
  • Privileged household rather than temple?

13
View from the Door Passage
  • Passage over 3m long
  • Orientated towards a pair of standing stones

14
Marker Stones
  • Beyond the near horizon from the temple.

15
Loch of Gruting Enclosure
  • Pre-modern earthwork on the line of the approach
    to the temple.
  • Temple 900m away and over the near horizon

16
Skyline Notch and Markers
  • View to the notch from the Gruting Enclosure
  • Notch disappears on the approach, necessitating
    markers.

17
Landmarks on the Route
  • Stone Structure?
  • Marker Stones ?
  • Spring / pool

18
Stream Crossing
19
Temple Revealed and Sky lined
  • Temple had been concealed by a steep bank

20
Stream on the Approach Line
  • Approach to the Temple
  • Looking back to standing stones

21
Temple Façade
  • Curved façade, clearly designed to be viewed from
    the front.

22
(No Transcript)
23
Modern route
Original route
More information on the modern and original
experiences of Stanydale can also be found on
Simon and Is various blog entries
24
Islesburgh (nr Mavis Grind)
Following slides based on Simon Clarkes 2009
conference paper (full version online) Crossing
to the Other Side representing the journey of
life in Neolithic Shetland
25
Mavis Grind, Islesburgh and the Minn
  • Well preserved Neolithic landscape occupying the
    north shore.

26
The Minn from the North
  • Outlet to the Atlantic closed in the Neolithic

27
Tomb and Enclosure Compared
  • Tomb façade similar to the loch shore
  • Tomb curb similar to the enclosure dyke
  • Position of the tomb chamber similar to that of
    the house within the enclosure

28
Sight Lines to the Sea
  • House and tomb have very specific sight lines

29
Pundswater
House
Chambered cairn
More information can be found on Simon Clarkes
blog entry for this site.
30
Chambered cairn entrance aligned with spring
autumn equinox
31
Alignment of house entrance with the hilltop
Both house and chambered cairn entrance point at
the same hilltop
32
Modern cairn on possible prehistoric cairn at
summit of hill
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