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Archaeologist gather from across the world to discuss Shetland’s Archaeology

Published: 17 September 2019

Scatness AerialThis Friday sees the start of a weekend symposium where the future Shetland’s past will be the main focus.  The symposium will consider what archaeologists now know about Shetland from the time when people first settled here through to recent times, and what the key questions are for the future.

Dr. Val Turner is the Regional Archaeologist at Shetland Amenity Trust, she explained that, “Archaeology draws you in deeper and deeper. For every question that you find an answer to, ten new questions arise.  Even what you think you know is likely to be challenged as new discoveries are made.  That is even more the case in Shetland than in many places, because our archaeology is so rich and survives so well.”

The gathering is part of a 4-5 year project which will look in turn at the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney as part of the Scottish Islands Research Framework for Archaeology.  The project is led by the three Regional Archaeologists along with the University of the Highlands and Islands and is funded by Scottish Archaeological Research Framework and Historic Environment Scotland.  The project will help to flesh out the priorities for archaeology for each island - the weekend event will help to form the partnerships and understanding of what is needed to achieve this.

Sandy Middleton, Head of Engagement at Shetland Amenity Trust said, “Shetland Amenity Trust has been at the forefront of archaeology in Shetland since 1986.  Since then, 5 new broch sites have come to light, the story of the origins of brochs has been re-written, and over 60 potential Viking/Norse longhouses in Unst have come to light. This may be just the tip of the iceberg so it is really exciting to have so much archaeological expertise here this weekend to help us consider our future approach.”