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3 November 2007
Iron Age chain discovered in Shetland

A 2,000-year-old bronze Iron Age chain has been discovered during consolidation work at the ancient Scatness settlement (Shetland, Scotland). The chain, with 20 double links and the remains of possibly the clasp, was recovered from a roundhouse wall by the Shetland Amenity Trust. The chain is described as extremely well preserved and adds to the jewellery and other metal artefacts found at the site.
     "If it wasn't for the broken clasp it would be almost fit to wear today. Bronze came into Shetland only very late in the Bronze Age, and for things more delicate iron is not your metal of choice," Shetland Archaeologist Val Turner said. "People living in the Iron Age at Scatness worked a lot with bronze and with silver. This is indicative of the fact that they had nice and good jewellery. We also know that they made jewellery on site," she added.  The only similar find in Shetland was in 1950s when a five link chain turned up during excavations at Clickimin, in Lerwick. "This chain is much longer and we should be able to date it far more accurately," the archaeologist said.
     Jimmy Moncrieff, general manager of the Shetland Amenity Trust, said: "This is further proof of the rich material culture and metal working skills centred in and around Scatness 2,000 years ago."
     The chain will be taken to the University of Bradford for conservation before it can be put on display to the public. Consolidation work to protect the Scatness site for future generations is expected to take another three years. However the site will continue to be open to the public throughout the summer months to enable visitors to find out more about the excavations, the Iron Age and any new finds.

Source: BBC News, The Shetland News (1 November 2007)

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