MHG40106 - Cairn w finds, Tote


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • FINDSPOT (Mesolithic to Late Bronze Age - 8000 BC? to 551 BC?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

In autumn 1922 a large grass-grown cairn on foreshore at Tote was excavated by T C Lethbridge. The cairn was about 40ft in diameter and about 8ft high. In the top was a cup-shaped depression which may have been caused by robbery for wall-building, or by a secondary burial. At ground level in centre of cairn was a short cist containing upwards of 150 flint and other flakes and two rude scrapers. There was no trace of bone, although charcoal was abundant. (T C Lethbridge 1920) The secondary burial was about 1.5ft below surface of depression on top of cairn: it was composed of fine sand in which were a few fragments of a human femur and burnt bones. Associated with the burial were an iron axe (with remains of handle), a bronze penannular broach (with fragments of leather still adhering to it), a bone bead, a hone, a piece of wood, 2ins long, a great number of rusty pieces of iron attached to fragments of wood - probably the remains off a shield, but also described as boat rivets, (A O Curle M Olsen and H Shetelig 1954) and several small iron fragments. The finds are in the private possession of T C Lethbridge (S Grieg 1940).
The flints from the cist are listed as mesolithic survivals and described as a remarkable series of buchite, or vitrified shale, artifacts found in two (sic) Bronze Age cairns. They include fairly large fine blades, some retouched, a few cores, one apparently having served as a scraper, and a steeply dressed trimming-flake. An abruptly edge-blunted microlith, made on a narrow blade, very probably cut by micro-burin technique, constitutes most northerly example of kind in British Isles (A D Lacaille 1954).
T C Lethbridge 1920; S Grieg 1940; A O Curle, M Olsen and H Shetelig 1954; A D Lacaille 1954.

This cairn, situated at NG 4097 4975 a few feet above high water mark on the E side of Loch Snizort, now measures 19.0m in diameter and 1.2m in height. The central excavation is very obvious with the stones lying loose; the remainder of the cairn is turf covered.
Visited by OS (C F W) 24 April 1961.

Flints from this cairn are in Cambridge University Museum of
Archaeology and Ethnology by T C Lethbridge (51.1063).
Museum Accessions Register.

It is unclear whether the flints and charcoal were associated with the cist burial or the ground surface the cist and cairn were later constructed on. Given the large amount and possible Mesolithic date of some, the later is suspected. Only 8 of the flint pieces (2 cores and 6 flakes) are listed the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology catalogue (Acc. No. 1951.1064.1-8). The location of the rest is unknown. <1>

See link below to ARCH's Site of the Month feature of the site.

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NG 4096 4974 (4m by 4m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG44NW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish SNIZORT

Finds (8)

  • PLANT MACRO REMAINS (Mesolithic to Late Bronze Age - 8000 BC? to 551 BC?)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Mesolithic to Late Bronze Age - 8000 BC? to 551 BC?)
  • BLADE (Mesolithic to Late Bronze Age - 8000 BC? to 551 BC?)
  • CORE (Mesolithic to Late Bronze Age - 8000 BC? to 551 BC?)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Mesolithic to Late Bronze Age - 8000 BC? to 551 BC?)
  • FLAKE (Mesolithic to Late Bronze Age - 8000 BC? to 551 BC?)
  • MICROLITH (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Mesolithic to Late Bronze Age - 8000 BC? to 551 BC?)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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