Island Dwellings at 60° North: New Evidence for Crannogs in Iron Age Shetland

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Re-evaluation of recorded sites and new field survey has identified 30 island dwellings in Shetland which are argued to be part of the wider Scottish Iron Age crannog building tradition. Four of the 30 sites identified were subject to field survey above and below water and found to be at least partially artificial. The morphology, distribution and chronology of Shetland’s artificial islands are discussed and compared to the rest of Scotland emphasising their parallels. The results support the recent move towards considering islet duns and brochs as crannogs. These newly identified sites in Shetland underline the ubiquity of the crannog building tradition in Scotland. Through discussion of the morphology, distribution and chronology of crannogs in Shetland and the rest of Scotland, it is argued that artificial island dwelling is a widely shared cultural practice and an underlying principle of Scottish Iron Age settlement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-308
JournalOxford Journal of Archaeology
Issue number3
Early online date4 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021, The Author(s).


  • crannog
  • Shetland
  • Iron Age
  • lake dwelling
  • Scotland
  • domestic architecture

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