Living History Education
Archaeological information discovered during excavations has been used to create reconstructed buildings beside the site. The recreations include two of the Pictish buildings - one of which has now been completely removed from the site in order to excavate the buildings beneath - and one of the aisled roundhouses. When the site is open to the public, the fires are lit and the house dressed daily, so that visitors can feel what it might have been like to live in the Iron Age. Using the skills of experienced dry-stone workers and other craftspeople, demonstrations are given to allow visitors to learn more about how the structures were built and would have functioned.
The development of Living History demonstrations began because objects unearthed during the excavation were usually too fragile for visitors to see, far less, handle. Living History demonstrators were engaged to replicate items and their use. They also learnt a lot about ancient crafts through trial and error, learning soapstone quarrying and working, metal working, carving siltstone, etc. On-site guides would give visitors the opportunity to try some of these things, with occasional specialist craft workers on site: their skills ranging from metal and jewellery working, pottery, textiles, rope making, soapstone working… all the facets of life in Shetland 2000 years ago.
Shetland Heritage Shop books section.Education packs have been developed for schools which allow local children to study local history, reinforced by a visit to the actual site studied to take part in traditional activities. Additional children's books and research texts based on Old Scatness are also available to purchase from the
A visit to Old Scatness usually starts with a guided tour. Expert guides help visitors make sense of the site and also keep them safe: there are areas of the site which are fragile and could damage both unaware visitor and the archaeology.
Pre-booking is a requirement for any individual or group tours as staffing resources are limited.