MHG30722 - Township - Swordle Bay, Ardnamurchan


A small C18-C19 township that was subject to archaeological investigation as a part of the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project between 2008 and 2011.

Type and Period (1)

  • TOWNSHIP (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Five structure foundations below Coldstream Cott.
Information supplied by G Grant, 04/99.
See assoc. docs. File (photos).
J Aitken : 14/03/02.

NM57SW 8 centred 542 705

A township comprising nine unroofed buildings, one of which forms three sides round a courtyard and has an outshot, three roofed buildings, three enclosures, one of which is annotated as a Sheepfold, two limekilns and a head-dyke is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Argyllshire 1875, sheet xv). One unroofed building, what may be the remains of another unroofed building, one partially roofed building, two roofed buildings, a Sheepfold and a head-dyke are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1974).
Information from RCAHMS (SAH) 22 April 1998.

This site was subject to archaeological investigation and excavation between 2008 and 2011. In 2008 it was included in a walkover survey of the Swordle Bay area by the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project where 15 structures were identified consisting of the footings of nine structures, five enclosures and a single clearance cairn. In 2009 a single trench was opened over the southeast corner of what appeared to be a plan of the remains of the southern room of a double roomed structure of likely post-medieval date. This initial excavation revealed a the upper coursing of a double skinned wall with rubble infill on the south-east corner of the structure and deposits of rubble. Two test pits were also excavated in another structure revealing an enclosure of a possible animal pen. <1>

In 2010 trench 1, first opened in 2009, was reopened within the interior of the south-east room of the structure in order to expose in situ occupational/constructional layers. The work in this trench suggested that the construction and initial use of the site was pre-clearance. Trench 2 was opened in the north-west room to discover overall phasing of the structure, to look for differences in room use and to see if there had been a cut into the slope to construct this feature. Evidence from this trench suggested that there was possible different use and construction between this area and that in trench 1. <1>

The post medieval site, believed to be C19 in origin, revealed a complex set of stone remains of a possible earlier date. Further excavation work was planned for 2011 to further investigate the site. <2>

In 2011, the third season of work, a series of small excavation trenches were opened up in four structures. Evidence suggested the reuse and abandonment of all four structures and suggested that there was at least two separate periods of occupation. Finds were almost exclusively post-medieval although there were potentially two sherds of medieval pottery recovered from the site. The site was believed to have been a subject of the Highland Clearances in the 1850s. A number of additional test pits were opened on the site revealing potential evidence of metal working, slag, burning and animal remains. <3>

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NM 5424 7048 (138m by 126m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NM57SW
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (4)

External Links (1)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.