EHG4085 - Excavation - Viking boat burial, Swordle Bay, Ardnamurchan (2011 season)



Ardnamurchan Transitions Project


July 2011


Archaeological excavation was carried out in 2011 by members of the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project on what had previously been thought to be a cairn or clearance cairn to the west-northwest of the Cladh Andreis chambered tomb at Swordle Bay on a lower terrace of the Swordle River. Trial trenching had originally been carried out in 2006 (see EHG1436), and the but the trench was extended during the 2011 season forming a T-shaped excavation area. After re-opening the original trench was cleared of backfill and it was then extended to 6m x 3m to the north. The trench was further extended 2m x 1.5m to the west to form a T-shape. After full excavation the site revealed a Viking boat burial with several finds including: a sword, an axe, a spear, a ladle-type object, a whetstone, a bronze ring-pin, the bronze rim of a drinking horn, a sherd of pottery, two human teeth and two small fragments of human bone as well as over 200 rivets and roves from the boat. The human remains were few, consisting of a few fragments of bone and teeth, but given the series of weapons the burial was thought to be male. Preliminary analysis suggested this site dated to the late 9th or early 10th century AD. <1> <2> The final report on the excavation has been published in Antiquity. <3> See link to view the report

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: Harris, O., Cobb, H., Gray, H. & Richardson, P.. 2011. Ardnamurchan Transitions Project: Viking Boat Burial, Swordle Bay, Ardnamurchan: Season Six, 2011: Archaeological Excavations DSR. Ardnamurchan Transitions Project. Digital.
  • <2> Text/Publication/Serial: Millburn, P (ed). 2011. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland - New Series, Volume 12, 2011. Paper (Original).
  • <3> Text/Publication/Article: Harris, O.J.T., Cobb, H. et al. 2017. Assembling places and persons: a tenth-century Viking boat burial from Swordle Bay on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, western Scotland. Antiquity Vol. 91 Issue 355. 191-206. Digital.



Location Swordle Bay, Ardnamurchan
Grid reference Centred NM 5459 7078 (12m by 12m)
Map sheet NM57SW
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

  • Viking boat burial - Ardnamurchan peninsula (Monument)

Record last edited

Jan 18 2018 10:36AM

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