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Help shape the future of the past at Old Scatness

Published: 29 March 2023

Shetland Amenity Trust is beginning to gather thoughts and views on the long-term future of Old Scatness and is inviting the public to a series of free site tours and feedback opportunities over Easter on 7th and 10th April.

A tour of OSB
A tour of OSB


Old Scatness is the best example of an Iron Age Village and Broch in Britain. It was discovered by chance in 1975 and was bought by Shetland Amenity Trust and excavated between 1995 – 2006. Since excavation the site has been open every year during the summer season for guided tours of the village which includes a Broch, a group of aisled roundhouses and reconstructed buildings.

SAT’s Regional archaeologist, Dr Val Turner, explained: “We are at the very early stages of engagement with the community about what they would like to see happen with the site. During the original excavation there was wide public interest, with up to 400 visitors a day and Scatness contributed hugely to the sense of place in the south mainland. Since that time areas of the site have been consolidated but much of it remains unstable and is vulnerable to the elements and it is only accessible to visitors with an expert guide. The conservation project, which is part of the Coastal Communities Fund, will include genuine consultation with the community to discover what the site means to them and how they might like to see it in the future. The feedback will help guide us in the next stages of the business plan to make the site robust, accessible, and economically viable.”

Jacqui Birnie, Cultural Heritage manager said: “Following last month’s Shetland Heritage Conference it was evident that there was a great deal of support from the local community to discuss the future of Old Scatness. By opening it up to visitors over Easter we are first and foremost encouraging folk to come along and refresh their memories of the site. For many, it may have been several years since they last visited. We’re keen to share the Old Scatness story and get a clearer understanding of what the site means to the community and how it could be developed. Following a free tour, we’ll be asking visitors for their feedback which will help shape the next stage of our engagement process.”

The Old Scatness tours will last for approximately one hour and will take place on Friday 7th and Monday 10th April at 10.30am, 12.30pm, and 2.30pm. Tours are free but must be booked online here.  

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse and Visitor Centre will also be open for the season from Saturday 8 April.