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Coastal place names on the steps at the Shetland Museum and Archives Coastal place names on the steps at the Shetland Museum and ArchivesZoomTake a look outside the Shetland Museum and Archives Boat Hall and you'll see 46 pavers embedded with Shetland place names.

These pavers, inlaid with crushed serpentine mixed with resin, are part of an initiative developed by the Shetland Place Names Project and Enviroglass working together with local artist Alan Hart. The names on the steps feature coastal names, moving from sea to shore in wave pattern, while round the corner on the terrace you can take a tour of Shetland from Finniquoy in Fair Isle to Hamar in Unst.

Land Names feature on the terrace Land Names feature on the terraceZoom


The pavers incorporate both particularly unusual names (eg Winyadepla, Houlastongas and Veltamatas) and names common throughout Shetland (eg Loomishun, Linga and Gorsendi Geo). Names chosen to represent natural features include geos, taings, ayres, scords, stacks and skerries.

All the names provide clues about Shetland's history and the habitat of plants and wildlife. Burgataing denotes the location of a broch, Gulga was once a gallows site, and Cockstool was a place of punishment. Sea eagles were known to nest at Ern Stacks, whilst Tara Baa is a submerged rock covered with seaweed. Brimfooster means seafoam, and Trumba and Bomblaberg describe the sound of the sea crashing against the rocks.