MHG30044 - Burial Isle, Eilean Choinnich


Burial Isle, Eilean Choinnich

Type and Period (1)

  • BURIAL GROUND (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

See Thumbnail - Barrisdale Bay - GR 8715 0615, Burial Isle showing most recent erosion, July 2001 and head cairns, and stained ground.
Photo by John Wombell, 30.7.01.

Tidal burial island containing over 40 small, uninscribed stone head-markers and around 100 small cairns. The latter being covered with 6-8 inches of turf, indicating some antiquity, although the last burial is reported to have taken place in the 1950's. The island is associated with the church on the mainland, Quoad Sacra (SMR no NG80NE0015).
The island is suffering from erosion, with layers being disturbed. Although no skeletal remains are evident, there are patches of staining by head markers being exposed.
The site is well-grazed by sheep who wander back and forth from the mainland, so no bracken has encroached upon the island.
Info and report of erosion from John Wombell who visited the island with Graham Tuley.
A M Fox, Highland Council, 19/07/01.

See assoc. docs.
J Aitken : 08/08/01.

Eilean Choinich (Burial Isle). This site was recorded by NOSAS in 2002 as part of an archaeological survey of Inner Loch Hourn.

This small burial isle was first put onto the SMR. in 2001 by members of the survey team. It is joined to the mainland by a tidal causeway. The isle extends to c. 33m x 22m. The flat, dry and grass covered open area contains 4 small standing head stones, and one visible horizontal grave slab, and what appears to be a number of head and foot marker stones. There are no inscriptions. The whole area is dotted with small grassy mounds, some of which have stones beneath and some of which are sandy loam.

There are 2 large washed out areas on the west side of the isle, still actively eroding. One of the eroded faces was the subject of professional inspection. No human bones were visible at the time, but red stained layers were clearly visible in 2001 at the same face. Two of the small turf covered stone cairns have been cut by the erosion and the nature of them can be clearly seen. It is almost certain that they mark the positions of early graves, and that several rows of graves, or at least the earth above them, have already been washed away. There could easily be the remains of graves under the stony beach. As evidenced by some of the wash-out, some graves at least may have been covered by stone capping, c. 0.3m to 0.4m below the surface.

The first general impression is that there are 9 rows of graves in the flat grassy area, running N-S, with the graves orientated E-W. There appears to be effectively a second area of burials on the isle, scattered in small groups in hollows on the higher rocky ground to the NW of the main area. The ground cover there is of course grasses and heather.
All of the lower part of the isle was plane-tabled in April 2002, and a copy of the plan is attached to this report. It is very much hoped to return to the site and to complete the plane table survey of the remaining half of the island in the not too distant future. It is highly probable that there are also unmarked graves on the isle.

Site: 391. Eilean Choinich burial isle. As described in the notes above. <1>

NGR adjusted based on 1999-2001 APs <2>

The site was subject to a more detailed survey as part of the NOSAS survey in 2004. <3>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NG 8715 0614 (84m by 71m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG80NE
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish GLENELG

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (0)

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