Central Excavation Unit (Scottish Development Department)
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Forestry ploughing prompted survey and excavation work on a hillside in the Strath of Kildonan, in Sutherland. Several monuments were investigated, including hut circles, cairns, and burnt mounds. A range of radiocarbon dates and environmental vidence was obtained. The pottery recovered, although small in quantity, falls into two distinct groups in terms of the temper used. Kilearnan Hill lies on the south side of the River Helmsdale, c. 10km inland along the Strath of Kildonan from Helmsdale. The focus for the survey and excavation lay to the east of Kilearnan Hill itself, on a peat-covered north-facing slope between the Gylable Burn and the westernmost tributary of the Oulmsdale Burn. The present vegetation is dominated by heaths, but with grasses co-dominant in some parts of the site and shrubs of bog myrtle in the poorly drained area towards the Oulmsdale Burn. The excavation strategy was, with minimal excavation, to retrieve as much information as possible about the sites on the hillside in terms of form, dating or date range, and the environment current during their use. Where possible, it was decided to investigate both ploughed and unploughed versions of the same type of monument, comparing ther esults to assess whether future excavations of already ploughed site should be considered. <1>
Text/Publication/Article: McIntyre, A.. 1998. Survey and excavation at Kilearnan Hill, Sutherland, 1982-3. Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 128. 167-201. Digital.
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