Viking Unst Excavations
Three longhouse sites have been extensively excavated as part of the Viking Unst project.
Excavations at Hamar and Underhoull were carried out by the University of Bradford North Atlantic Research Unit, under the leadership of Dr Julie Bond. The site of Belmont was investigated by a team from The University of Copenhagen, directed by Anne-Christine Larsen of the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde.
By making use of cutting edge archaeological techniques, particularly in the fields of dating and environmental studies, and by using the evidence of associated disciplines such as place names analysis, the Viking Unst Project has built up a picture of Viking life in Unst. The team have explored a number of questions including:
- The earliest Viking settlement in Unst and how it affected the native population;
- The development and expansion of Viking settlement over time;
- The Viking legacy, including the long-term impact on place names, land management and way of life for the later community, some aspects of which continue to the present day.
The survey work began in 1994 and recorded possible Viking and Norse longhouses and Chapels in Unst. There are many potential and identified longhouse sites in addition to those which were chosen for excavation.
Landscape surveys were also carried out, which provided a solid foundation for the Viking Unst Project.