Issue: Catpund: a prehistoric house in Shetland

Publication Type
Abstract A prehistoric house was excavated in advance of industrial quarrying at Catpund, Shetland. Although little of the internal stratigraphy of the house remained beneath a modern cabbage enclosure (planticrub), the form of the house survived. The artefacts found in and around the house indicate the domestic activities which took place there, and the farming methods employed in the vicinity. A thorough analysis of the artefactual evidence suggests that the house was in use some time during the middle to late Bronze Age. This report considers the structural and environmental evidence for the house together with discussions on its form, the distribution of artefacts and dating.
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Author Beverley Ballin-Smith
Editor John H Lewis
Amelia Pannett
Publisher Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Other Person/Org Torben Bjarke Ballin (Author contributing)
Stephen P Carter (Author contributing)
Camilla A Dickson (Author contributing)
Paul Sharman (Author contributing)
John Arthur (Author contributing)
Year of Publication 2005
Volume 7
ISBN 0 903903 76 8
Source DigitalBorn
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Abstract
1
A prehistoric house was excavated in advance of industrial quarrying at Catpund, Shetland. Although little of the internal stratigraphy of the house remained beneath a modern cabbage enclosure (planticrub), the form of the house survived. The artefacts found in and around the house indicate the domestic activities which took place there, and the farming methods employed in the vicinity. A thorough analysis of the artefactual evidence suggests that the house was in use some time during the middle to late Bronze Age. This report considers the structural and environmental evidence for the house together with discussions on its form, the distribution of artefacts and dating.
2 - 7
This section describes the circumstances behind the excavation (the site was under some threat), location, topography, geology, aims of the investigation, recording and excavation techniques and location of the archive. A detailed plan of the excavated features is included.
8 - 17
An oval house appeared as a slightly elevated ring of boulders built on a level knoll of bedrock. Seven phases were identified: phase 1 site preparation; phase 2 construction; phase 3 - use of house; phase 4 - abandonment; phase - re-use; phase 6 - second abandonment; phase 7 - modern features. An undated D-shaped enclosure was found in Trench B while a length of enclosure dyke was found in Trench C.
Stephen P Carter
Camilla A Dickson
Beverley Ballin-Smith
18 - 20
The surviving environmental evidence was unsuitable for dating and was heavily mineralised. Botanical remains included heather, charcoal, burnt peat, rowan and ash charcoal, and corprolites.
Beverley Ballin-Smith
Torben Bjarke Ballin
Paul Sharman
21 - 41
Most artefacts are stone and include ard points, hand tools, miscellaneous stones, quartz fragments and steatite vessels, along with some ceramic material. There were very few ecofacts and all metal artefacts are recent.
42 - 44
Analysis of the location and distribution of the finds across the site and of the individual artefacts have produced little information on the function and chronology of the house as most derive from abandonment and modern levels. The evidence from artefacts is indicative of grain cultivation with ploughing or digging taking place in the vicinity of the house, along with leather processing or the manufacture of wooden or bone artefacts. Analogy with other sites, the association of the steatite vessel and lamp places the building in the Bronze Age.
45
46
Beverley Ballin-Smith
A prehistoric house was excavated in advance of industrial quarrying. Although little of the internal stratigraphy of the house remained beneath a modern cabbage enclosure (planticrub), the form of the house survived. The artefacts found in and around the house indicate the domestic activities which took place there, and the farming methods employed in the vicinity. A thorough analysis of the artefactual evidence suggests that the house was in use some time during the middle to late Bronze Age. The report considers the structural and environmental evidence for the house together with discussions on its form, the distribution of artefacts and dating.
Beverley Ballin-Smith
Torben Bjarke Ballin
Paul Sharman
Stephen P Carter
Camilla A Dickson
Beverley Ballin-Smith