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Welcome to the Bronze Age Bressay! website

The tank of the burnt mound - the builders carefully laid the stone to display the ripple marks in the slab.


Bronze Age Bressay! is a community project that successfully excavated and rebuilt an eroding archaeological site. The Burnt Mound of Cruester, a prehistoric burnt mound with stone structures buried within it, was dismantled and moved to a safe location near the island's Heritage Centre. It now forms the focus of a permanent exhibition. A replica of the mound’s stone tank, passageway and hearth cell was also built at the centre and these are being used to conduct experiments and other exciting events.


The site had been eroding for many years, and parts of it had already been lost. The local community wished to save what remained, and make it accessible to the public. This is a novel approach to dealing with a severe problem in Scotland: the loss of hundreds of archaeological sites due to coastal erosion. The project aims to help raise awareness of this problem, whilst giving visitors an opportunity to see the site and participate in some of the numerous activities planned at the Bressay Heritage Centre.

The reconstruction site will be used as an educational resource; to read more, including how the site will be linked closely with the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. - CLICK HERE

An Education Pack has been produced by Esther Renwick and the Bressay History Group. To download the Education Pack (6Mb) - CLICK HERE


The Burnt Mound of Cruester lies on the northwest coast of the island of Bressay, Shetland. Bressay is a ten minute ferry ride away from Shetland's capital, Lerwick. The reconstruction was built—stone by stone—at the Bressay Heritage Centre, next to the ferry terminal, which is around a kilometre from where the mound originally stood on the foreshore.


The project started at the beginning of June 2008 and the reconstruction and replica were completed by August of that year. The new site was officially launched by Tavish Scott, MSP on 23rd August. To read about the launch, click here. Over the coming months and years, a series of events are planned, including talks, Open Days and Living History events. There will be experimental days when stones are heated and plunged into the large replica tank to try and see what it may have been used for. There will also be pottery workshops, classes in drystone walling, prehistoric technology days, a kids’ trench and numerous other activities. Click here to read more about the experiments and events that have already taken place.


The project is a partnership between the Bressay History Group, the Adopt-a-Monument Scheme from Archaeology Scotland and The SCAPE Trust.

Project sponsors include the Heritage Lottery Fund, Shetland Islands Council, Highland and Island Enterprise and the Shetland Amenity Trust.



This website will continue to be updated as future events are held at the site.

Site credits || Last updated: April 2010. To report any problems with the site, please contact the webmistress.

© The SCAPE Trust 2008-2010 | Company Number SC216091 | Scottish Charity Number SC031678