MHG37291 - Cave and Midden - Camusteel 2


Cave and midden investigated by the Scotland's First Settlers Project.

Type and Period (2)

  • MIDDEN (Mesolithic to 21st Century - 8000 BC? to 2100 AD?) + Sci.Date
  • CAVE (Mesolithic to 21st Century - 8000 BC? to 2100 AD?) + Sci.Date

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Created automatically by NMRS Register Utility
User: Admin, Date: Wed 13 Oct 2004
NG74SW 41 7050 4217 and 7077 4207
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 7077 4207 Camusteel 1 Rockshelter. * (MHG58703)
NG 7050 4217 Camusteel 2 Rockshelter. + * (This record)
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

This cave and midden was investigated by the Scotland's First Settlers Project. The cave lay in an unusual position, halfway down the cliff face. It had an open, southerly aspect but was sheltered and reached from above by a narrow and difficult path and from below by a steep slope to the beach. A shell midden and lithics were visible on the surface before excavation. A second, smaller and bramble infested shelter lay below, but was not investigated because of the impracticalities of access. One test pit was excavated. It measured 1m×0.5m, was aligned east—west, and lay at the western side of the shelter, well within the drip line. A deep fissure in the bedrock ran obliquely across the trench making excavation and interpretation of the layers difficult. Test Pit 1 was excavated to almost 0.5m.
There were five lithic finds, all of chalcedonic silica. These were pieces of debitage, regular flakes and a small broken scraper. Six sherds of glazed pottery were recovered along with 15 clear glass sherds, some decorated. Metal finds consisted of two small eyelets of copper-alloy flanking organic remains (probably eyelets around a perforation in cloth or leather), iron staple and two iron nail fragments. Limpet was found to predominate throughout the midden with periwinkle also present but in much smaller quantities. A number of other species were present, including an unusual number of flat periwinkle and topshell. The remain of a bone comb were also found.
Four radiocarbon determinations were obtained from this site, two dates came from a possible floor layer and, and two from the shell midden. Three of the dates fall into the late 1st millennium AD (AD 920-960; AD 780-1000; AD 680-890) while the fourth is earlier (800-250 BC).
The lithics suggest some prehistoric activity, the pottery and the glass are modern, and the metalwork could date to anything between the post-medieval to modern periods. The comb cannot be dated precisely but it would not contradict other early medieval indications. The dates confirm activity in the late prehistoric and medieval period, but clearly this shelter has been used, on and off, into recent times. <1>

See link below to published report for detailed information and radiocarbon dates. See also link below to Scottish Radiocarbon Database.

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NG 7049 4217 (20m by 20m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG74SW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (3)

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