MHG12274 - Possible Hut Circle, Midden etc, Handa Island


A midden, exhibiting a long use life, with both prehistoric and modern material, has been recorded eroding out of sand dunes on Handa Island. A previously reported hut circle could not be located.

Type and Period (2)

  • HUT CIRCLE? (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2400 BC to 560 AD)
  • MIDDEN (Early Iron Age to 21st Century - 550 BC? to 2100 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

(NC 1465 4765) Pottery & Domestic Refuse found AD 1937 & 1960 (NAT)
OS 6"map, (1963).

'Foundations of a circular habitation with charcoal, bones, bits of black pottery etc, which I saw on Handa. Gales had removed a long established sandhill and disclosed the foundation.'
Information contained in letter from G Marples, Lower Mead, Sway, Hants 25 July 1937.

This site was pointed out by Mr Munro (A J Munro, boatman, Tarbet) at NC 1465 4765. An area of eroded sand dunes revealing a great quantity of loose stones, shells, bones and fragments of pottery and charcoal as stated above. No hut foundations were found, but fragments of (? Iron Age) pottery were found. Visited by OS (W D J) 12 July 1960.

Only loose stones are visible at present. Visited by OS (J M) 4 June 1980.

Site inspection of the midden was carried out by Highland Council Archaeology Unit in 1999. The midden appears to be around 50 metres in diameter, and is exposed in two eroding dune faces (north and south-east sides). Bands of shell are visible, approximately 90% limpet shell, along with some mussel and sea snail shells. There are also quantities of bone - some large pieces, probably bird and mammal (possibly sea mammal); ceramics - prehistoric (buff and black with very coarse grit used as temper) and modern (fine, glazed). Much of it is in evidence and continuously eroding out of the face, mainly on the north side. The deposit appears to run right under the dune system and be exposed on the south-east side; it has evidently been used over a long period of time, from prehistoric to recent and represents a resource for investigating the human settlement history on the island.

No evidence of a hut circle platform was seen. <1>

Sources/Archives (9)



Grid reference Centred NC 1465 4765 (100m by 100m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC14NW
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND

Finds (1)

  • VESSEL (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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