ARCHAEOLOGISTS have found potential Bronze Age remains on a construction site in Shetland.

The discovery was made during groundwork at SaxaVord Spaceport construction site on Lamba Ness peninsula on Unst.

Archaeologists viewing the site believe that the remains suggest that the site was in continuous use as a cremation cemetery in prehistory.

Katie O’Connell of AOC Archaeology said: “The several deposits of burnt bone which have been found are likely associated with the remains of cremation deposits.

“A standout feature uncovered so far is the remains of a quartz setting. White quartz is often suggested to have had significance in prehistory and is found in association with burial tombs, rock art panels and deposited carefully at domestic sites.”

Other findings on the site include pits, large boulders and bone deposits – the pits were found scattered across the area suggesting repeated use on the site over time.

Dr Val Turne, Shetland‘s regional archaeologist, said: “I’ve always suspected that some of Shetland’s rings of boulders and low stones found could in fact be Bronze Age cremation cemeteries, so it is hugely exciting to be proved right.

“The Bronze Age is perhaps the period of Shetland’s past which we know least about, and this is a wonderful opportunity to change that.”

Studies of the findings from the site are still at an early stage but archaeologists believe that the remains found date back to 2200-1800 BC.

SaxaVord spaceport chief executive Frank Strang said: "This is a tremendously exciting discovery and we will be supporting further study of the remains to find out the full story.

"With Unst's Viking heritage, we had always thought of the timespan from the longship to the spaceship.

"Now we know there has been activity on our site for more than 4000 years – it's the Bronze Age to the Space Age."

Construction is currently under way at the location to build a ground station and rocket launch site for small rockets to reach low earth orbit.

Development at the site will continue and not be hindered by the discovery made on the site.