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Pinhoulland, Walls

Published: 04 July 2023

Dr Val Turner, has been working as Regional Archaeologist at the Shetland Amenity Trust for almost 40 years. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing 5 things she loves about Shetland's archaeology, first up is Pinhoulland in Walls.

1. Pinhoulland, Walls (West Mainland)

House at Pinhoulland, Walls


People started farming in Shetland around five thousand years ago. As they cleared areas, they marked the edges of their fields with stones. They built their houses on the edges of the fields and buried their dead on higher spots nearby. They even built walls between the farms so that the hill-land was also clearly divided, presumably with rights about grazing, using the peat and quarrying stone for tools. Remarkably, and unparalleled elsewhere, the remains of these early farms are still visible in Shetland’s West Side.

Landscape view of Pinhoulland

Pinhoulland is a little off the beaten track, located on the slopes above the Voe of Broulland.

Settlement and field system 


This astounding site includes eight prehistoric houses picked out in stone, a burial cairn on a rise overlooking the site and a complex pattern of fields. Although it has never been excavated, the remains are easy to spot even if you aren’t an archaeologist.

Dr Val Turner, Regional Archaeologist

Recommended walk -  Off the Beaten Track 17 – Pinhoulland
Last year Val shared a few of her favourite walks - helping you to discover some of Shetland's hidden archaeology treasures.