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1 July 2007
Ancient Scottish coastal settlement rebuilt

An ancient Shetland settlement at risk of crumbling into the sea has been rebuilt - despite fears that it will soon be eroded. The work on the burial site in Sandwick Bay, Unst (Scotland), follows an excavation led by the SCAPE - Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problems of Erosion Trust. It teamed up with the Council for Scottish Archaeology's Adopt-a-Monument scheme for the rebuild project. The new structures will allow visitors to see the excavation findings. It is thought that the structures may only last a couple of years, due to coastal erosion.
     Local groups, working with archaeologists and ancient building specialists, decided they should be built in their original positions, with nature being allowed to take its course. Interpretation boards and leaflets are being produced to explain the remains. They will contain details of a skeleton dating back 2,000 years which was found with an unusual polished stone disk beside its head in 2005. The site will be maintained and monitored as the remains are washed away in the next few years.
     Tom Dawson, project coordinator the St Andrew's University Scape trust, said: "We have finished the excavation of the structure, leaving some of the walls untouched but removing other walls. Before taking the walls down we photographed and drew them, as well as marking the stones, so that we could put the walls back in place. The rebuilding phase was remarkably quick, and it helped to round off the project." Mr Dawson hopes the project will inspire other communities to work to save the heritage of threatened coastal site around Scotland.

Source: BBC News (29 June 2007)

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