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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences eTheses
Title: Location, Form and Function in Shetland's Prehistoric Field Systems
Author(s): Turner, Valerie Erica
Supervisor(s): Simpson, Ian A.
Winterbottom, S.
Adderley, W.P.
Keywords: Shetland
Field Systems
Shape Analysis
Soil Survey
Topographic Survey
Bronze Age
Iron Age
Soil management
Peaty soils
North Atlantic
Northern Isles
Issue Date: 12-Jul-2012
Publisher: University of Stirling
Citation: Turner, V.E., Guttmann-Bond, E.B.A, Burbidge, C.I., and Simpson, I.A. (2010) “Old Scatness: the Viking and Norse anthrosols” in Dockrill, S.J., Bond, J.M., Turner, V.E., Brown, L.D., Bashford, D.J., Cussans, J.E., Nicholson, R.A. Excavations at Old Scatness, Shetland. Volume 1: The Pictish Village and Viking Settlement, 197-203 Shetland Heritage Publications, Lerwick
Turner V.E. and Simpson I.A. (2013) In Search of the Infields: Viking / Norse Field Systems in Unst. In Turner, V.E., Bond J.M. and Larsen, A-C. Viking Unst. Excavation and Survey in Northern Shetland. Shetland Heritage Publications, Lerwick
Abstract: Shetland boasts exceptionally well-preserved, but largely overlooked, field systems spanning a period of approximately 4000 years (Neolithic/Bronze Age – Viking/Norse). These have the potential to vastly increase our understanding of past agricultural practices and life styles. This study uses topographical survey, Shape Analysis, GIS, soil survey and micromorphology to answer questions relating to their location, form and function/management, pioneering the use of new tools and testing current models. An holistic landscape approach to the field systems is developed and tested against a multi-period site. Previously unknown types and periods of field systems are identified through survey and shape analysis, tools demonstrated to be valuable in refining the emerging model of field classification. GIS has illuminated pre-, during and post- construction factors influencing boundary form. New insights into location arise from the survey and GIS. Soils work has demonstrated that existing models of soil management over-simplify a complex situation, that thin acidic soils retain cultural information and that accretion was important to the sustainability of these peaty soils. While soils were sustainable over extended periods, the cultural inheritance of managed land appears to be limited. This thesis therefore presents the most holistic and comprehensive understanding of Shetland field systems which has so far been attempted.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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