Spatial Analysis and Cultural Indicators: Viking Settlers at Old Scatness Broch, Shetland?
This chapter explores the three-dimensional recording of in situ artefacts and the advantages of spatial analysis of artefact distributions as an aid to the interpretation of archaeological deposits. The recovery of soapstone vessel fragments from the structure’s fill, artefacts commonly associated with the Viking and Norse Periods, suggests a strong Norwegian influence at some phase in the history of the building. As the typology is, to a degree, chronologically sensitive, finds recovered from Old Scatness Broch could be assessed in terms of their likely period of manufacture. Old Scatness is an excellent testing ground for such work; it exhibits a complex and deeply stratified depositional sequence, set within what is essentially an urban site with both negative and positive features. The chapter aims to report at an interim stage in both the excavation and post-excavation analysis and as such serves to illustrate the potential of intra-site artefact distribution analysis.