Centre for Field Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
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An archaeological assessment, involving geophysical survey, trial trenching, limited test pitting and a general walkover survey was carried out by the Centre for Field Archaeology in 1997 at Churchton Bay, Raasay, in advance of a proposed new ferry terminal.
In the sample geophysical surveys, both resistivity and magnetometry techniques were used. The surveys were conducted in contiguous grid blocks of 30m x 30m. The resistivity survey was carried out in three blocks (A, B and C) and the total area surveyed was 23,400m². The Magnetometry was carried out in two blocks (D and E) and the total area surveyed was 4,500m². These revealed a number of anomalies which were identified as being geological features or associated with post-improvement agricultural practices.
A total of six trenches were excavated although the area of land available was limited by rock outcrops and woodland. Location of the trenches within these areas was directed mainly by the results of the geophysical surveys. All trenches were initially machine excavated followed by hand cleaning. The trenches measured: Trench 1 - 40m x 1.7m; Trench 2 - 7m 7m; Trench 3 - 40m x 1.7m; Trench 4 40m x 1.7m; Trench 5 - 45m x 1.7m and Trench 6 - 40m x 1.7m. Three test pits measuring 0.5m x 0.5m were excavated around the site of a potential midden in the grounds of Raasay House that was inaccessible to the mechanical excavator.
Neither the test pitting nor trial trenching produced any artefacts or features of archaeological significance. The finds recovered were consistent with C19 midden spreading agricultural practices. The evaluation determined the different soil and subsoil types within the evaluation area. The general shallow depth of the topsoil and the presence of ploughmarks within one of the trenches may indicate that any less substantial features previously present would have been ploughed out. <1>
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