cup marks

Unst stone with cup marks

The early Neolithic houses that have been found were made of stone, were oval and later had internal cells along the wall.  The hearth was usually in the middle.  These people grew crops and kept animals so their houses would be more substantial.  Very few have been excavated in Shetland, but at the Ness of Gruting a quantity of barley was found indicating a reasonable climate.

It is interesting to consider what the early settlers would have found in Unst.  The seashore gave them shellfish, seaweed, fish, fish oil, and an occasional seal or whale.     Animal bones were used for a great variety of objects.  Straw also would have been used widely.  There were birds in abundance and their eggs would have been a bonus in spring.  Quartz was available for arrowheads and stone was used for rough tools.  Clay was available for making pots and crushed soapstone was added to it for extra strength.  Wood would still be available.