MHG37258 - Caves - Coire Sgamhadail


A series of caves with middens and structures investigated during the Scotland's First Settlers Project.

Type and Period (1)

  • CAVE (Mesolithic to Late Iron Age - 8000 BC? to 560 AD?) + Sci.Date

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Created automatically by NMRS Register Utility
User: Admin, Date: Wed 13 Oct 2004
NG73NE 6 7906 3826
The following sites were recorded between October 1999 and May 2000 as part of the Scotland's First Settlers Project (See DES 2000, 44):
NG 7906 3826 Coire Sgamhadail 1 & 2 Cave. + *
Notes: + = containing visible midden.
* = test-pitted sites.
> = sites considered inappropriate for test pitting.
A full report has been lodged with the NMRS.
K Hardy and C Wickham-Jones 2000

These sites were investigated by the Scotland's First Settlers Project. They comprises a series of three caves lying adjacent to one another. SFS 89a is a substantial cave sheltered to the east and largely dry. A drystone wall runs in an arc across the entrance. A rich soil with occasional periwinkles on the surface occupies the slope between the cave and the sea. SFS 89b is a smaller cave with no obvious midden. The interior is on two levels, only a couple of metres above the sea. The roof is high and the site is exposed to the west. It is situated 15m south, downhill and towards the sea from SFS 89. Two test pits were opened in SFS 89a, one inside the cave and one outside on the slope. A third was dug in the smaller cave SFS 89b.
Six lithics were recovered from the test pits in SFS 89a; all are regular flakes. There were two pieces of chalcedonic silica, three of quartz and one of baked mudstone. The test pit in SFS 89b yielded one broken retouched piece of chalcedonic silica. There were also two finds of coarse stone from SFS 89a: a bevelled pebble; and a faceted cobble. A quantity of vitrified hearth/furnace lining with slag was also recovered. Bone and shell was also present.
Two radiocarbon dates were obtained from Test Pit 1 which was a shell midden overlying angular rockfall. Both indicate activity in the 3rd millennium BC (2550-1950 BC and 2290-1880 BC).
The flaked tools are undiagnostic regarding date or period, though the coarse stone tools have been associated with both Mesolithic and later material elsewhere. The radiocarbon dates lie in the 3rd millennium BC and this is in general agreement with the stone finds, but the metalwork is an indication that this site continued to be used into more recent times. <1>

See link below to published report for further detail and radiocarbon dates. See also link below to Scottish Radiocarbon Database.

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NG 7906 3826 (30m by 30m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG73NE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish LOCHBROOM

Finds (4)

  • FLAKE (Mesolithic to Late Bronze Age - 8000 BC? to 551 BC?)
  • SLAG (Undated)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • LIMPET SHELL (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (3)

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