GUARD were commissioned by Historic Scotland to preserve by record the archaeological deposits contained within two marine caves situated in the western wall of the Geodha Smoo, near Durness, Sutherland in April 1995. Archaeological deposits had first been reported there in 1992 during work carried out in the main site, known as Smoo Cave. These deposits were subject to serious erosion caused by high tides and storm driven waves. In addition, a third cave was found in the eastern wall of the Geodha Smoo situated at the juncture of a grass covered slope and the present cliff face around 10m above sea level.
For the purposes of site recording each of the three caves was allocated a name. The northern cave was referred to as the Antler Cave after the early finds of red deer antler. The southern cave was named Glassknapper's Cave following the recovery of bottle glass which appeared to have been deliberately retouched. The third cave was named Wetweather cave as this was partially investigated when bad weather created conditions too hazardous to work at the other two cave sites. An important aim of the project was to recover bulk samples from the excavated deposits. Glassknapper's Cave displayed the most extensive and complex series of archaeological deposits, with two trenches being excavated, although no convincing evidence for structural elements was identified. Excavation of the Antler Cave deposits was limited to a small trench cut back from the main section for little over a metre and the wet conditions always present regularly caused the sections to collapse and made it impossible to excavate as extensively as in its neighbour. Excavation in Wetweather Cave was confined to the outer chamber where removal of several centimetres of sheep dung revealed archaeological deposits. <1> Full published report. <2>
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