The Scord of Brouster is one of the earliest Neolithic farm sites in Shetland. It has been dated to 2220 BC with a time window of 80 years on either side. It comprises three houses, several fields surrounded by walls, and a cairn. A sign by the Scord of Brouster states that the climate of Shetland became wetter towards 1500 BC, and that peat forming near the fields eventually forced the farmers to permanently abandon the site. The Scord of Brouster has three oval-shaped houses.

In all, nearly ten thousand pieces of quartz were found at the Scord of Brouster. 5688 stone artifacts were found in house one, 3772 stone artifacts were found in house two, and only 227 stone artifacts were found in house three. Of the 227 items found in house three, 225 are merely quartz flakes and chips. These pieces were found in what appears to be three phases: prior to the construction of the buildings, during active use, and during abandonment.

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Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar is one of Scotland’s most perfectly preserved castles. It began as a simple tower-house residence. Gradually, over time, it developed into a complex of structures and spaces, as subsequent owners attempted to improve its comfort and amenity. As a result, there are many nooks and crannies to explore.

The surrounding gardens and parkland were also important. The present-day Craigmillar Castle Park has fascinating reminders of the castle’s days as a rural retreat on the edge of Scotland’s capital city.

At the core lies the original, late-14th-century tower house, among the first of this form of castle built in Scotland. It stands 17m high to the battlements, has walls almost 3m thick, and holds a warren of rooms, including a fine great hall on the first floor.

‘Queen Mary’s Room’, also on the first floor, is where Mary is said to have slept when staying at Craigmillar. However, it is more likely she occupied a multi-roomed apartment elsewhere in the courtyard, probably in the east range.

Sir Simon Preston was a loyal supporter of Queen Mary, whom she appointed as Provost of Edinburgh. In this capacity, he was her host for her first night as a prisoner, at his townhouse in the High Street, on 15 June 1567. She was taken to Lochleven Castle the following day.

The west range was rebuilt after 1660 as a family residence for the Gilmour family.

The 15th-century courtyard wall is well preserved, complete with gunholes shaped like inverted keyholes. Ancillary buildings lie within it, including a private family chapel.