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18 January 2013
Storms expose Iron Age skeleton in Shetland

Archaeologists said a structure was briefly exposed at Channerwick (Shetland, Scotland) before being buried again by a rockfall over the festive period. Before it disappeared from view, police officers and archaeologists were able to investigate the site and take a bone sample for radiocarbon dating.
     Shetland Amenity Trust assistant archaeologist Chris Dyer said: "The skeleton, initially reported by a local resident, looked as if it were contemporary with the Iron Age remains. The original burial now lies under several tons of fallen bank and the Iron Age structures have also disappeared from view." County archaeologist Val Turner added that during the investigation she and freelance colleague Samantha Dennis discovered evidence of at least one, and possibly two other burials. Turner said that the force 10 easterly storms had damaged archaeological sites along the entire east coast of Shetland.
       In South Nesting as much as a metre has been lost of an Iron Age site at Gletness. "We are fortunate to have a record of these sites as a result of earlier work but coastal erosion is an ever present feature of archaeology in Shetland," Turner said. "Shetland Amenity Trust's archaeology section would be keen to hear from anyone who knows of other sites which may have appeared or been eroded by the storms. We are hoping that once we have an indication of just how great a problem has been created in the last few weeks, we will be able to formulate an action plan," she concluded.

Edited from Shetland News (11 January 2013)

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