EHG1572 - Excavation - Borralie, Durness



Glasgow University (GUARD)


June-July 2004


Excavation was carried out at two sites on the fixed dune grasslands to the west of Loch Borralie by GUARD in 2004. The work was carried out as part of the Strathnaver Province Viking-Medieval Archaeology Project, a five-year excavation and survey project directed by staff from the University of Glasgow and Assumption College, Massachusetts. The project was designed to further understanding of medieval rural settlement on a regional scale and inform its future management, encourage heritage awareness in the region and provide training in archaeological field techniques to members of the local community and university students. The work followed limited geophysical survey (see EHG1224) and involved trial trenching of a sub-rectangular bow-sided structure (Site 46), and open-area excavation of a similar structure (Site 89) set within a fenced-off deflated area; deposits in both structures were being damaged by burrowing. Bothy features had been identified in an extensive walkover survey carried out in 2001 (see EHG3147). Excavation of site 46 established that it had been largely scoured out in the past by erosion, although a fire-spot and some occupation deposits did survive; sherds of coarse pottery from these deposits would suggest that the structure pre-dates the post-Medieval occupation of the area. Excavation of site 89 established that it had a complex structural sequence: its walls had been thickened, and the structure overlay earlier midden deposits that in turn sealed earlier walling. Sherds of what may be late first millennium AD pottery were found associated with the earlier walling. The form of the later structure would suggest a Norse or late Norse date for it. Further excavation of site 89 is required to fully clarify its character and sequence and to rescue information from deposits before their archaeological integrity is destroyed by burrowing. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1>XY Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: Lelong, O. & Gazin-Schwartz, A.. 2006. Borralie, Durness: Data Structure Report 2005. Glasgow University (GUARD). 30/05/2007. Digital (scanned as PDF). [Mapped features: #10733 Site 89, ; #10734 Site 46, ]



Location Borralie, Durness
Grid reference Centred NC 3794 6732 (277m by 282m)
Map sheet NC36NE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish DURNESS

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

  • Building - Loch Borralie West (Monument)
  • Possible Norse structure - Borralie, Durness (Monument)

Record last edited

Apr 23 2021 2:43PM

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