Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC4193: Ruir Taing, Lamb Hoga, Fetlar  

(Fetlar, Ruir Taing, Lamb Hoga; Broch of Burgastoon)

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HER:  Shetland Amenity Trust 38

NMR:  HU 68 NW 2 (1406)

SM:  

NGR:  HU 6157 8731

X:  461570  Y:  1187310  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

This fort occupies a precipitous coastal promontory now only connected to the mainland on the NW by a narrow neck some 45m in length and in place little more than 4m in width. At the inner end a grass-grown bank traverses the neck, enclosing an area measuring about 55m in maximum length and splaying to about 40m in breadth at the seaward end on the SE (0.15ha). The main defences, however, lie at the landward end of the neck, where two ramparts and ditches have been drawn across the isthmus from the cliff on the NE to leave a narrow entrance way along the SW margin. This crosses over a natural arch formed at the inner end of a geo that has eroded back into the neck behind the inner of these ramparts, which stand between 1.2m and 1.5m above the bottoms of the adjacent ditches. An area of disturbance and several earthfast stones is visible within the interior, but no clearly defined structure. The OS name Book records that stones were robbed from here to build a dyke (Name Book, Shetland, No.13, p 30, 34).

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed

Location

X:  -97818  Y:  8526553  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -0.878716  Latitude:  60.564716  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Shetland Islands

Historic County:   Shetland

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Fetlar

Condition

Extant:  
Cropmark:  
Likely Destroyed:  

Land Use

Woodland:  
Commercial Forestry Plantation:  
Parkland:  
Pasture (Grazing):  
Arable:  
Scrub/Bracken:  
Bare Outcrop:  
Heather/Moorland:  
Heath:  
Built-up:  
Coastal Grassland:  
Other:  

Landscape

Hillfort Type

Contour Fort:  
Partial Contour Fort:  
Promontory Fort:  
Hillslope Fort:  
Level Terrain Fort:  
Marsh Fort:  
Multiple Enclosure Fort:  

Topographic Position

Hilltop:  
Coastal Promontory:  
Inland Promontory:  
Valley Bottom:  
Knoll/Hillock/Outcrop:  
Ridge:  
Cliff/Plateau-edge/Scarp:  
Hillslope:  
Lowland:  
Spur:  

Dominant Topographic Feature:  

Aspect

North:  
Northeast:  
East:  
Southeast:  
South:  
Southwest:  
West:  
Northwest:  
Level:  

Elevation

Altitude:  30.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

In the absence of excavation, there are neither stratified artefacts nor radiocarbon dates to provide a chronology for the defences.

Reliability:  D - None

Pre 1200BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
400BC - AD50:  
AD50 - AD400:  
AD400 - AD 800:  
Post AD800:  
Unknown:  

Pre Hillfort Activity:  ✗  

Post Hillfort Activity:  ✓  Robbing of the defences

None:  No details.

Investigations

1st Identified Map Depiction (1878):  Annotated Brough on the 1st edition OS 6-inch map (Shetland 1882, sheet 17; Name Book, Shetland, No.13, p 30, 34)
Other (1930):  Visited but found no evidence on the top of the promontory (RCAHMS 1946, iii, 63, no.1243)
Other (1969):  Description of the promontory defences by the OS
Earthwork Survey (1970):  Plan and description by Raymond Lamb (1980, 49 fig 19, 85; RCAHMS SHD 105/1; RCAHMS also holds his photographs)

Interior Features

Lamb notes hummocks and earthfast slabs within the interior

Water Source

None:  
Spring:  
Stream:  
Pool:  
Flush:  
Well:  
Other:  

Surface

Area of disturbance with several earthfast stones

No Known Features:  
Round Stone Structures:  
Rectangular Stone Structures:  
Curvilinear Platforms:  
Other Roundhouse Evidence:  
Pits:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  

Excavation

No Known Excavation:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Geophysics

No Known Geophysics:  
Pits:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Finds

No Known Finds:  
Pottery:  
Metal:  
Metalworking:  
Human Bones:  
Animal Bones:  
Lithics:  
Environmental:  
Other:  

Aerial

No clear structures

APs Not Checked:  
None:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Other:  

Entrances

See main summary

Total Number of Breaks Through Ramparts:  

Number of Possible Original Entrances:  1:  Approached along the neck on the NW

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Entrance 1 (Northwest):  Simple Gap:  A causeway lies on the SW margin of the neck of the landward defences

Enclosing Works

Two ramparts and ditches at the landward end of the neck, and possibly a wall where it begins to open out onto the top of the promontory

Enclosed Area 1:  0.15ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.2ha.

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✗  

Number of Ramparts:  3

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  
Number of Ramparts NW Quadrant:  3

Current Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  
Unknown:  

Multi-period Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:  
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  

Surface Evidence

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Rubble:  
Wall-walk:  
Evidence of Timber:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
Other:  

Excavated Evidence

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Murus Duplex:  
Timber-framed:  
Timber-laced:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
No Known Excavation:  
Other:  

Gang Working

Gang Working:  ✗ 

Ditches

Ditches:  

Number of Ditches:  2

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Lamb, R G (1980) Iron Age promontory forts in the Northern Isles. Brit Archaeol Rep, British Ser 79. BAR: Oxford

Name Book, Ordnance Survey Object Name Books (6 inch and 1/2500 scale); available http://www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/

RCAHMS (1946) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Twelfth report with an inventory of the ancient monuments of Orkney and Shetland, 3v. HMSO: Edinburgh

Terms of Use

The online version of the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland should be cited as:

Lock, G. and Ralston, I. 2017.  Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland. [ONLINE] Available at: https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk.

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