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1 July 2007
Stone circle unearthed in Shetland

A team of archaeologists from Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society (Bacas) has helped uncover an ancient stone circle in one of Britain's most remote locations. Members of the have taken part in a two-week excavation on Foula, part of the Shetland Islands (Scotland).
     The team was previously involved in an extensive geophysical survey on the island in May last year. They were invited back to investigate the possibility that an early Bronze Age ceremonial enclosure, aligned to the midwinter sunrise, had been discovered.
     Jayne Lawes, the Bacas director of excavations, said: "This year's excavation has proved conclusively that the stone enclosure is manmade. It is similar in construction to others of the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age. The actual date of the construction has yet to be established, though one shard of pottery has been found buried under 60cm of peat on the floor of the enclosure. That should help to provide evidence of a date when the site was in use." The team has also taken samples of the peat for further analysis in the hope that pollen samples may give further clues to the date of the site.
     Bacas member John Holbourn, who lived for most of his life on Foula before moving to Wiltshire, said: "The alignment of the stone ring to the midwinter sunrise is of real significance. While in the summer the island is bathed in light throughout most of the day and night, in the winter daylight lasts for only a few hours. The knowledge that the days will lengthen and get warmer is very cheering."
     For more information about the Foula excavation, or for details of the local summer excavation or open day, contact Bridget Hetzel on 0117 932 9939 or visit the Bacas website, www.bacas.org.uk.

Source: The Bath Chronicle (28 June 2007)

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