MHG30701 - Wreck - Galmisdale Point, Eigg


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Type and Period (1)

  • WRECK (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Possibly one of the most important archaeological finds of recent years was reported to us in Spring of last year. Ongoing research has been carried out and we are pleased to be able to report some details of this exciting find. In Galmisdale Bay, off the south-east coast of the Isle of Eigg, locals knew of the skeletal remains of a boat being uncovered at exceptionally low tides. Last Spring, the remains appeared again and Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland were called in to examine the remains. Concerns were raised because a new slipway was due to be constructed near to the site of the wreck.

Tradition had the boat as the wreck of the Dubh Ghleannag, a craft commemorated in Gaelic poetry and wrecked off Eigg in 1817. Due to characteristics evident in the construction of the boat, theories had also been put forward that it was the remains of a birlinn, a specifically Hebridean development of the Viking longships, or even the next step on from the birlinn. The boat is made from oak, is 13m long, clinker built (i.e. built with overlapping planks) and has wooden pegs in addition to iron nails holding it together. It is this latter fact that has ship historians very excited, because although wooden pegs continued in use into the 1900s, the fastening system displayed in this wreck is similar to that used from the Viking times onwards in the Western Isles.

The wreck remains in the sand, now recorded, safely covered over and cordoned off from the work area for the new slipway. More research is needed into the results of the fieldwork and it is hoped that samples taken to Edinburgh for radiocarbon dating and this may shed some more light on this mysterious craft.
A M Fox, Highland Council, 08/03/02.

Sources/Archives (0)



Grid reference Centred NM 4849 8388 (80m by 80m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NM48SE
Civil Parish SMALL ISLES
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

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Related Investigations/Events (3)

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