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At Sandwick on Unst, the northernmost island of the Shetland Isles, a team of archaeologists and volunteers spent four seasons (2004-2007) excavating a prehistoric building eroding out of the dunes before it was claimed by the sea. The Shetland Community Archaeology Project was set up to train local volunteers in archaeological techniques and to dig and record the site before it was lost to coastal erosion.

The team found abundant evidence for how the settlement was occupied in the mid first millennium BC to the early first millennium AD, when windblown sand covered the tumbled building and a grave was dug through it.  Post-excavation analysis is currently underway on the thousands of artefacts and environmental remains recovered during the excavations.  The project was set up by The SCAPE Trust and directed by GUARD.  The fieldwork was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, the Russell Trust and Unst Community Council, with support from Shetland Islands Council and the Shetland Amenity Trust.  The post-excavation work is being funded by Historic Scotland and the British Academy.

Russell Trust logo

The Russell Trust

Hunter Archaeological Trust logo

The Hunter Archaeological Trust

Shetland Islands Council

Unst Community Council

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