EHG4491 - Test-pitting - Strath Suardal, Isle of Skye



West Coast Archaeological Services


July-Sept 2010


A campaign of targeted test pitting was carried out in Strath Suardal under the auspices of the High Pasture Cave Project during the 2010 season and following several seasons of walkover survey (see EHG2821). Thirty one of the thirty-two circular structures thought to be contemporary with the main period of activity at High Pasture Cave were investigated, the main phase of activity being towards the end of the Bronze Age circa 750cal BC to the Middle Iron Age circa 100cal AD. One site (LS119), recorded by the Royal Commission (RCAHMS 1928) could not be re-located. No attempt was made to test pit Sites LS122 and LS123, the crannog in Loch Cill Chroisd and the potential stone circle on Cill Chroisd Glebe. In four instances, (Sites LS10, LS20, LS43 and LS115) due to the small size of the site, only one test pit was excavated, running from the outside to the centre of the structure. In a further four instances a third test pit was excavated to test related features (Sites LS 06, LS66, LS 88 and LS 121). Of the sites excavated twenty-seven produced charcoal samples of sufficient size to enable radiocarbon dating to be attempted. In addition, hearths, post holes and floor surfaces were recorded and small finds were recovered including pottery, (103 sherds) pebble hammers, lithics, quern fragments and pot boilers. The test pits placed across walls also provided good examples of several wall types, including walls faced with orthostat boulders, well-built rubble walls, massive piles of random stones and substantial turf walls. In three instances (Sites LS33, LS41 and LS66) floor surfaces ran beneath outer walls indicating two phases of construction/occupation. Three of the sites produced evidence for possible Neolithic occupation, (Sites LS25, LS120 and LS121), with well made, plain, black burnished pottery, a flint end scraper and a polished axe fragment being recovered. All three sites were roughly circular platforms revetted with massive boulders. This is the first evidence for occupation sites of this period on Skye. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Location Strath Suardal, Isle of Skye
Grid reference Centred NG 6097 2066 (5253m by 3890m) (30 map features)
Map sheet NG62SW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Unitary Authority HIGHLAND
Civil Parish STRATH

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

  • Smithy - Coille Gaireallach (Monument)
  • Uamh an Ard Achadh (High Pasture Cave) (Monument)

Child/subsequent Site Events/Activities (1)

  • Test pitting - Coille Gaireallach

External Links (0)

Record last edited

May 20 2020 12:15PM

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