Unst, the most northerly island in Britain, is thought to be the first foot-fall of Vikings in the North Atlantic. There are the remains of at least 60 longhouses, the highest density of rural Viking sites anywhere, including Scandinavia.
The primary aim of the project was to increase understanding of Viking Norse settlement, and interpret and display excavated sites for public access. Three longhouses have been excavated at Hamar, Underhoull and Belmont, drawing on the most up-do-date archaeological knowledge and methods, including dating techniques, soil science and environmental analysis. These sites can be visited all year round and self guided trails have been developed to aid access and interpretation for visitors.
The Skidbladner (replica Gokstad ship), and the Viking Longhouse reconstruction, both located at Haroldswick provide a focal point for visitors and residents from which they can explore Unst’s Viking heritage. The Unst Heritage Centre and the Unst Boat Haven also display a range of exhibitions and information.
This project was managed by Shetland Amenity Trust Archaeologist Val Turner. Excavations were directed by Julie Bond, University of Bradford and Anne-Christine Larsen, Trelleborg Viking Fortress.