Submerged forest in Bressay Sound

Birch wood from Bressay Sound

Dredging in the north entrance to Lerwick Harbour in the channel between the north corner of Green Head Quay and Scottle Home has revealed significant finds. Water depth here is ~7m removing about two metres of sandy material to gives a depth of 9m. Dredged material is being pumped ashore to reclaim land at Green Head and Scottle Holm.   Among the sandy sediment pumped ashore was a great deal of woody material, much of which is still covered in bark. With the kind permission of Lerwick Harbour Trust and Westminster Dredging, samples of wood were recovered by Tom Jamieson and Allen Fraser. From initial inspection the woody material appears to be sections of birch trees. Bark covered samples will soon be dispatched to Dr Nigel Melton of University of Bradford for 14C dating.  

Similar woody material was found during a dredging on the Bressay shore in 1990. A stone axe was found associated with that woody material. The axe has been fashioned from serpentinite rock - almost certainly from Fetlar or perhaps Unst. The 'spike end' has been cleaned to remove barnacles that why it shows the 'fresh rock' the rest of the axe is the dark 'patina' that Fetlar serpentinite takes when it is polished. The axe has a slight 'waist' 13cm from the blade end  - presumably this was where it was hafted.
Stone axe