Ness of Burgi fort

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Ness of Burgi fort
Mainland, Shetland, Scotland
Ness of Burgi 20080821 - from the west.jpg
Ness of Burgi fort from the west
Ness of Burgi fort is located in Shetland
Ness of Burgi fort
Ness of Burgi fort
Coordinates 59°51′32″N 1°18′32″W / 59.859013°N 1.308961°W / 59.859013; -1.308961
Site information
Condition Ruined
Site history
Built Iron age
Materials Stone

The Ness of Burgi fort is an iron-age promontory fort on the Ness of Burgi, a narrow finger of land reaching south from the Scat Ness in the far south of the island of Mainland, Shetland in Scotland.


The fort is about 1 mile (1.6 km) south from the village of Scatness, in the parish of Dunrossness, and may be reached by foot along a grass path that leads to the headland of the Ness of Burgi. The fort is on a rocky promontory on the east side of the Ness and is open to the public at all times.[1]


The blockhouse, probably built about 100 BC[2] seems to be excessively large for the area that it protects, and so was perhaps more designed to impress rather than to defend.[3] The blockhouse structure seems to have been built as an integral part of the defensive wall.[4] The walls do not reach the edges of the cliffs on either side. There is no evidence that they once reached further and since have been shortened through natural or human activity. The ends are properly finished. It seems that the gaps were deliberate, and defense was not a primary concern. In fact, there are other points on the promontory that provide equally good natural defensive positions.[5]

There may be some similarity in this incomplete defensive wall with the forework of the Broch of Clickimin, the Huxter Fort and the Crosskirk Broch.[6] These works may be seen as prototypes that evolved into the brochs that were later built in the islands and the Scottish and Irish mainlands.[7]


Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ Uney 2010, p. 92-93.
  2. ^ "Ness Of Burgi". Canmore. Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 2016-05-24. 
  3. ^ Green 2012, p. 74.
  4. ^ Cunliffe 2012, p. 313.
  5. ^ Harding 2004, p. 150.
  6. ^ Fairhurst & Breeze 1984, p. 166.
  7. ^ Fairhurst & Breeze 1984, p. 174.