Caain da Noosts

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As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic we have, for the time being, shelved our Burra Noost Project. During this period of social distancing we have been thinking about ways we can engage with our community. After some pondering we have created this great online project called, 'Caain da Noosts'!

How to take part

This project is designed to enable you to share the information you have collected about the noosts in your area. The information you share with us will be included on our interactive map, and it will also be used to update regional and national archaeological site databases. This information will help build a more complete picture of life in Shetland before roads, bridges, cars and roll-on roll-off ferries. Please follow the link below to add to our noost records. 



Family Activities

We have put together some fun family activities aimed at the younger members of your family. 

Social Distancing

Whilst taking part in this project please follow the government's distancing guidance to ensure that you protect yourselves, those you live with and your wider community.



The noost information we need 

  1. The location, estimated or actual dimensions.

  2. Detail of construction, for example, is it a free standing noost with drystane walls, or is it a scoop out the ground? Is the noost revetted, i.e. dug into a bank with a drystane wall facing?


Added value information

We would also love to include a photograph or two, and any other information about the people and the boat(s) they kept in their noost(s). The people who generally know the most about the noosts in their area are usually elderly. Some older people do not have access to either a smartphone or a computer. If you know older people in your community who might be glad to share their noost knowledge with you then please ring them for a chat.


How we will use this information

We will enter the information you provide into our database and share the information on our lovely Caain da Noosts interactive map. This interactive noost map will be updated regularly. As previously mentioned we will also use this information to update regional and national archaeological site databases. By contributing to this project you will be actively helping to preserve Shetland's unique maritime past. The data on this map will enable us, once lockdown and social distancing restrictions have been lifted, to work on archaeological surveys of noosts and more in depth community and archive work. With this new data we will build a more complete narrative of Shetland's unique maritime past. 

To use the interactive map 

Enlarge the map; select and then click on a site marker; the information about the noost will appear in a box on the screen. Key to site markers: green markers are sites listed by Moder Dy; blue markers are sites listed in Historic Environment Scotland's Canmore archaeological site database; purple markers are sites listed by The SCAPE Trust.  We will be working with the Shetland Amenity Trust to add the noosts listed in the local Historic Environment Record.