The fifth programme in an eight-part series in which Professor Aubrey Manning seeks to solve some of the enduring mysteries of the British landscape through clues in geology, archaeology and natural history.
`On the remote Shetland Isles, a series of monumental towers Brochs once dominated the landscape. Aubrey sets off to discover what sort of community built the Brochs towers and for what purpose.
The latest clues are coming from a major new archaeological site at Scatness in the southern mainland of Shetland. Here the remains of a Broch settlement are helping to build a picture of the life of these ancient Iron Age people. New studies of the foundations of the Broch suggest a much earlier date for the structure than previously thought. It means the Brochs were built centuries before the Romans advanced up the British coast. Their function seems to have been as a home for the elite of the society. Aubrey concludes that here, on the edge of Europe, the Broch communities were far more advanced than those living in the rest of Northern Europe at the same period.
The Shetland Amenity Trust archaeologist is Val Turner; the team excavating Scatness is from the University of Bradford, led by Steve Dockrill.' [Open University Worldwide website].