A feature defined by a discontinuous line of stones along the edge of a rectangular platform set against a vertical rock face identified during a programme of works associated with a road corridor.

Type and Period (2)

  • SHIELING? (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD to 1900 AD) + Sci.Date
  • OCCUPATION SITE? (Middle Bronze Age - 1500 BC to 1251 BC) + Sci.Date

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NM 6639 8656 (Arisaig) to NM 6790 9194 (Kinsadel) Following field survey and test pitting (DES 2000, 47), evaluation work was undertaken on seven sites.
NM 6590 8877 Site 8 (stone structure). A small stone structure or platform built against a rock face was investigated. The modern turf contained the remains of more than one 20th-century bottle. These lay on the surface of a stony platform that may be the remains of a structure built against the rock face. Excavation below the platform revealed up to 0.6m of deposits containing the remains of earlier stone structures. A small charcoal lens at the base of this sequence yielded a calibrated date of 1386-1049 BC (see DES 2001, radiocarbon report, 124).
Sponsor: Historic Scotland
S Halliday 2001

A feature (site 8) defined by a discontinuous line of stones along the edge of a rectangular platform, measuring 2.5 x 4m, set against a vertical rock face were identified during a DBA and walkover survey by CFA in 2000. Two other structures, turf and stone built shielings 150-200m NW, were also identified. <1>

Subsequent to the survey, an evaluation trench was cut across the platform by Headland Archaeology. A number of glass fragments were retrieved from the upper surface of the platform which were all fragments from vessels from the 20th Century. A sample was taken from a layer of charcoal at the base of the trench which was radiocarbon dated to the late Bronze Age. On the basis of this date, further excavation was undertaken. <1>

Several phases were discovered during the following excavations, and four new radiocarbon dates were obtained from them. The first was the basal occupation deposit, dated to the Bronze Age. No features were associated with it, with only one quartz flake retrieved. Three structures were discovered on top of this and each other, the lower structure dated to the 15th-16th century AD, the middle structure likely to the 17th or 18th century AD and the upper structure to the 17-19th Century AD. All appear to be walls enclosing layers. Later features were identified on top of these feature, and were dated to no earlier that the 1920 based on finds retrieved. An assemblage of 36 lithics was recovered from contexts associated with all phases.

The radiocarbon dates for the structures were published in 2005 (see link below to published report). The early occupation phase was dated to the Middle Bronze Age (roughly contemporary with Bronze Age features discovered at MHG58041), followed by a gap of over 2000 years before activity again resumed in the medieval period. It is assumed that the use of this site in the Bronze Age was determined by the shelter provided by the rock face, as it clearly was in the later phases. However, it may also be noted that the sea-level displacement curve for Arisaig (Shennan et al. 1995) indicates that the site was close to the sea shore at the time, overlooking a large shallow inlet of brackish water that later evolved into the Mointeach Mhór. Proximity to the bay with its natural resources – such as bird life, fish and shellfish – may have been another important location factor although there is no direct evidence for this in the archaeological record. The lack of objects associated with the stack of late medieval and post-medieval structures supports the suggestion that the site was not part of a permanent settlement but is likely to have been used as a temporary shelter, possibly by people herding livestock. It may be contemporary with the two other small structures nearby, although these were not investigated and remain undated. <2>

The excavation assemblage from the Arisaig to Kinsadel work was submitted to Treasure Trove (TT 113/05) and allocated to Inverness Museum. <3> <4>

See link to published report below for radiocarbon dates.

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NM 6587 8881 (44m by 101m) (4 map features)
Map sheet NM68NE
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (2)

  • FLAKE (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • POINT (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (2)

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.