MHG38820 - Cave - Toscaig 2


A cave was investigated during the Scotland's First Settlers Project.

Type and Period (2)

  • SHELL MIDDEN (Mesolithic to 19th Century - 8000 BC? to 1900 AD?) + Sci.Date
  • CAVE (Mesolithic to 19th Century - 8000 BC? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Created automatically by NMRS Register Utility
User: Admin, Date: Wed 13 Oct 2004
NG73NW 17 c. 701 375
NGR given as NG 7013 3757 in Scotland's First Settlers Data Structure Report 1999 (MS/726/171)

A cave site was investigated by the Scotland;s First Settlers Project in 1999. This deep and dry cave site was situated on a rough exposed rocky coast below cliffs. An insubstantial wall curved across the mouth of the cave with no obvious entrance but it was tumbled in the centre. Hammerstones, possible bone tools and modern debris lay on the surface. Occasional shells were visible and hard packed sheep droppings formed the floor. Two test pits were dug, one inside the cae and the other outside under a rocky overhang. Both contained deep, well preserved stratigaphies.
There were four lithic finds (all debitage, three pieces of chalcedonic silica, and a flake of quartz), a bevelled pebble and a whetstone/rubber were . While the bevelled pebble might indicate Mesolithic activity, the whetstone is more likely to indicate a later prehistoric date. A bone tool, olive green bottle neck, and an assemblages of bone and shell were also found. Three radiocarbon dates were obtained, all from samples well stratified within the lower contexts of the test pits. They cover a range of some 300 years from the early 1st and 2nd century BC to the early years AD (210 BC -AD 10; 170 BC- AD 30; 390 BC - AD 110).
The stratigraphy inside the cave comprised intense laminated occupation deposits. The layers of midden within the cave did not relate to corresponding midden outside. This site has had an unstable history outside and around it that contrasted with the stability within; episodes of slopewash and rockfall dominated the external stratigraphy. Inside, the occupation layers continued, uninterrupted by abandonment or rockfall until very recent times.
The lithics were undiagnostic, though the coarse stone tools suggested both early and later prehistoric activity. The latter was in line with the radiocarbon determinations. The glass was post-medieval in date. This was the only site to produce a bone assemblage of any size and activities in the cave seem to have involved the processing of animal carcasses, perhaps to do with hide removal or preparation. <1>

See link below to the published Scottish Archaeological Internet Report 31 for further details and radiocarbon dates. See also link below to Scottish Radiocarbon Database.

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NG 7009 3750 (30m by 30m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG73NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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