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Neolithic find at Sands of Sound beach

Stones, uncovered as a result of coastal erosion, at the Sands of Sound. Shetland Amenity Trust says they were likely part of a Neolithic house. Photo: Michael Peterson

A MAN from Sound has spotted what appear to be the remains of a Neolithic house on a beach in the south of Lerwick.

Michael Peterson made the discovery next to a track leading down to the Sands of Sound beach and has alerted Shetland Amenity Trust, which is hoping to put up a sign to discourage people from using the stone remnants for things like barbecues.

Archaeologist Val Turner said there had been previous possible Neolithic finds in the same area. A polish stone was discovered at “precisely this point along the beach”, while there is also a record of a broken stone axe having been found at the east end of the beach.

She said the two walls Peterson had found, uncovered as a result of coastal erosion, were possibly two sides of a room that “may have been associated with these objects”.

“Years and years ago there was a find, possibly a Neolithic find, from the beach a little further along, so it’s interesting to now have a settlement,” Turner said.

The second of two walls discovered by Peterson.

“What’s not so good is that, because it’s a sandy beach and because the structure is stone, people think these stones are great for a barbecue or for moving.”

As a result, the trust is hoping to erect a sign informing people that it is an archaeological site and asking them not to disturb it.

She said the amenity trust was still trying to decide whether to investigate further, but there is “not a lot you can do without excavating, and that’s not always a good idea because it destabilises the land at the top as well”.

“It looks like it could well have been a house site,” Turner continued. “That’s the most likely possibility, that it’s been residential, and there are also some of the soils you can see sandwiched between the sand, a layer of black soil – there’s obviously been a land surface there at some point.”

Peterson said he suspected there were “extensive ruins” in the area, adding that he hoped the trust would have funds to erect a few fence posts, wire and a notice to preserve what is there.

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