MHG51768 - Rock shelter, Uamh an Eich Bhric, Fiskavaig
A rock shelter, occupied during the Late Iron Age, which contains substantial occupation and midden deposits. A programme of excavation is ongoing as the site is under threat from erosion.
Type and Period (3)
- OCCUPATION SITE (Late Iron Age - 2 AD to 560 AD) + Sci.Date
- MIDDEN (Late Iron Age - 2 AD to 560 AD)
- ROCK SHELTER (In use, Late Iron Age - 2 AD to 560 AD)
- None recorded
This site consists of a large eroding midden containing significant occupation deposits dating from the Late Iron Age. The midden fills a large rock shelter situated just above the high tide line. Analysis of eroded archaeological material recovered between October 2006 and March 2008 indicated a typical domestic assemblage including stone, iron, copper-alloy, bone and antler artefacts and ceramics. There was evidence for both iron and copper-alloy smelting as well as a well-preserved, but unfortunately unstratified faunal assemblage. Two radiocarbon dates from securely stratified animal bone in the exposed midden face produced Late Iron Age dates. <1>
Excavations took place at this site between April and December 2008. These revealed a short-lived sequence of occupation deposits and associated hearths with large quantities of ecofactual material including a well-preserved faunal assemblage with related butchery evidence. A wide range of small finds was also recovered including stone, iron, copper-alloy, bone and antler artefacts, ceramics and evidence for both iron and copper-alloy working (iron slag, crucible fragments, mould fragments, fragments of furnace lining and copper-alloy scrap) as well as leather-working and textile production. All of the material seems to have been deposited within a tight time frame, perhaps as little as 30 years and probably no more than 100 years.
The excavations established that different processes were in use for different categories of find, which were deposited in different areas of the midden. Shell middens, fish bone middens, pottery dumps and bone heaps were all discernible. It was also possible to identify four distinct types of hearth, which may conceivably have had different functions.
Eight further radiocarbon dates were determined following the 2008 excavations, full details of which are available in the excavation report and in the main HER database. <2>
Correspondence with Steven Birch concerning early visits to the site and the threat posed to the site by erosion. <3>
The second season of work at this exposed site saw the excavation of Trench 3 between the previous seasons Trenches 1 and 2. Trench 3 completed the removal of threatened cultural deposits, adding to the evidence for metal smelting/working (both copper/bronze and iron) with new evidence for ivory, bone, leather and antlerworking. A human cranial fragment with a drilled hole was also recovered, adding an interesting dimension to the finds from the site. Occupation of the site has been provisionally dated to AD c50–150. <4>
The 2010 season saw the completion of recording and the final tidying of the site before its abandonment to the waves. Work now moves to the post-excavation phase and preparation of final reports. <5>
DSRs for the 2009 and 2010 season are awaited and a final report is in progress GW 24/06/20
- <1> SHG22488 Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: Wildgoose, M, Birch, S & Kozikowski, G. 11/2006. Uamh an Eich Bhric: A Midden Site Reduced by Erosion. Archaeological and Ancient Landscape Survey (AALS). 28/11/2006. Digital (scanned as PDF).
- <2> SHG24545 Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: Wildgoose, M and Birch, S. 06/2009. Uamh an Eich Bhric (Fiskavaig 1): Excavation of an Eroding Midden Site - Data Structure Report 01. Archaeological and Ancient Landscape Survey/West Coast Archaeological Servi. Digital.
- <3> SHG24836 Text/Correspondence: Birch, S. 10/2006. Correspondence between Steven Birch and Kirsty Cameron, on Uamh an Eich Bhric rockshelter, Fiskavaig. Digital.
- <4> SHG28569 Text/Publication/Article: Wildgoose, M. & Birch, S.. 2009. 'Uamh an Eich Bhric (Cave of the Speckled Horse), Highland (Bracadale parish), rescue excavation', Discovery Excav Scot, New, vol. 10, 2009.. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland. 93. Online. pp. 93.
- <5> SHG28570 Text/Publication/Article: Wildgoose, M. & Birch, S.. 2010. 'Uamh an Eich Bhric (Cave of the Speckled Horse), Skye, Highland (Bracadale parish), rescue excavation', Discovery Excav Scot, New, vol. 11, 2010. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland. Online.
|Grid reference||NG 3028 3263 (point)|
|Geographical Area||SKYE AND LOCHALSH|
Related Monuments/Buildings (0)
Related Investigations/Events (4)
External Links (1)
- https://canmore.org.uk/site/295995 (View RCAHMS Canmore entry for this site)
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.