Dan Lee, from the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, reports on week one:
The LIFTE team spent six days excavating 17 test pits around the farmstead at Gunnister, North Mavine, Shetland. The aim was to evaluate a rural farmstead for evidence of material from Hanseatic trade, such as imported pottery.
In this case there was a trading booth further up the voe at Hagrie’s Böd, excavated in 2008 by Natascha Mehler and Mark Gardiner.
Situated on a large mound Gunnister farm was built in the 19th century, but likely had earlier phases. The test pits confirmed that that the mound was made of bedrock, but 17th and 18th century finds were recovered from the yards (garden plots) and infield enclosure to the west. These contained deep topsoil and enhanced cultivation soils.
The lower horizons contained 17th and 18th century pottery, confirming that the farm was indeed within the local network of trade.
Watch this space for an update in the trial test pits in Lerwick.