MHG5560 - Pottery Sherds and Bloodstone Scraper - Beinn Tighe, Canna


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • FINDSPOT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

See also NG20NW 10.

Several potsherds, including one undecorated and one decorated rim, were found in a rabbit scrape, along with a few flakes and a small scraper of (?) bloodstone. The decorated sherd has been identified as Unstan ware. Retained by finder. (See also NG20NW 11).
G Harden 1985.

An assemblage of Neolithic pottery and a few flint flakes have been recovered from a low mound on a terrace to the E of the shallow burn gully that drains the rising ground to the E of Tarbert. The terrace forms part of the floor of a rocky amphitheatre, and the mound lies towards its leading edge. The mound, which is overridden by lazy-bed cultivation (see NG20NW 131.03), has been reduced to little more than a low swelling some 20m across in the surface of the terrace, and the pottery and flints have all been discovered in the upcast from rabbit burrows within an area 10m across. On the W fringe of the swelling there are two stone features, the northern (NG 2441 0593) the remains of a structure, and the southern probably no more than field clearance. The structure is oval on plan, measuring 2.8m from NNE to SSW by 2.3m over a boulder kerb, but it is not clear whether the kerb is the outer face of a wall enclosing a small central space, or the kerb of a small cairn. The relationship between the structure and the mound is not known. Amongst the sherds of pottery, there are both plain and decorated rims, one base, and two large body sherds with horizontal perforated lugs. The decorated sherds include stab, impressed and incised wares, the latter identified as Unstan ware. It is likely that the finds previously recorded from this general area derive from this mound. On a low knoll about 30m to the WSW (NG 2439 0592), there are two stones which appear to have been placed on an alignment from N to S. The N stone measures 0.6 m by 0.5m at ground-level and 0.35m in height, and the S stone measures 0.5m by 0.4m and up to 0.7m in height.
Visited by RCAHMS (IMS, ARG), 3 May 1994.(Canna 143, 147).

Further sherds of pottery and a small lump of slag were recovered from the upcast of rabbit burrows into this mound during fieldwork in May 2001. All are body sherds and none bears any diagnostic decoration.
(Finds to be deposited in the NMS).
Visited by RCAHMS (ARG, SPH), 10 May 2001.

NG 2441 0593 In September 2006 an NTS Archaeological Thistle Camp investigated a rabbit-infested site where sherds of Neolithic pottery had been collected in the 1980s and 1990s. Trenches 4 x 1m and 4 x 2m were located on the slopes below a terrace where any structure might be expected to have been sited. Rabbit damage was extensive throughout the layers in both trenches, with over 60% of all of the deposits being burrowed. Nevertheless, it was clear that although the lazy bed cultivation that was visible across the area had also affected the stratigraphy to a depth of 0.4m, there were some surviving deposits below these soils. These consisted of a thick layer of orange-red clay-silt, some 0.1m thick, overlying a brown clay-silt, some 0.2m thick. Both of these layers contained significant quantities of large sherds of Neolithic pottery, as well as some worked flake tools and debitage of bloodstone, quartz and other stone types. Under the brown clay-silt was what appeared to be an old ground surface, some 0.1m thick, which overlay the undisturbed natural grey-yellow clay-silt and broken bedrock. There were no finds within the dark brown-black OGS.
Jill Harden, DES 2006.

Test Pit Survey (August 2007)
NG 2441 0593 An attempt to identify the extent of this Neolithic site, first investigated in September 2006 (DES 2006, 101), was made during three days’ work in late August 2007. Nine 1m square test pits were excavated to the depth of the subsoil or archaeological layers of unknown origin, whichever was encountered first. The E and W margins of the site were revealed, marked by the presence in two of the sondages of layers of red ?peat ash containing numerous Neolithic potsherds and some lithics. The other test pits were either excavated down to the subsoil, which was scored by ard/plough marks of unknown age, or onto stony layers that were not removed in case they were part of archaeological features. No rabbit damage was noted in any of the sondages, an indication that at least some of this site survives intact. Specialist reports are now being commissioned and once completed a research strategy will be developed with the aim of seeking support to look at this exciting site in more detail.
Archive to be deposited with the NTS SMR and RCAHMS.
Funder: National Trust for Scotland.
DES 2007

Geophysical Survey (16 April 2015 - 23 April 2015)
As part of on-going work by the National Trust for Scotland four sites on Canna were investigated, 16–23 April 2015, using a variety of geophysical techniques. The known Neolithic site in Beinn Tighe is a low mound, which is overridden by lazy bed cultivation. The terrace forms part of the floor of a rocky amphitheatre, and the mound lies towards its leading edge. As an assemblage of Neolithic pottery and flint flakes had been recovered as a result of rabbit damage to the mound, the site was excavated in 2006–7 as part of a programme to assess the nature and extent of rabbit damage to archaeological structures. Two trenches were excavated across the site and produced quantities of pot sherds and some lithics. Well-stratified charcoal from the lower archaeological layer was also recovered. To better understand the extent and nature of the site a resistance survey was undertaken. Although well defined high resistance anomalies were detected, which suggest the presence of buried stone beneath the surface, a more definitive interpretation is limited by the later ridge and furrow cultivation and the extensive rabbit burrows within the area. However, the resistance data shows good correlation with the previous excavation and test pitting results suggesting the limits of the resistance anomalies are archaeologically significant rather than simply the product of later agricultural activity.
Archive: Rose Geophysical Consultants
Funder: The National Trust for Scotland
Susan Ovenden - Rose Geophysical Consultants
DES, Volume 16

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NG 2440 0589 (4m by 4m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG20NW
Civil Parish SMALL ISLES
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (3)

  • SHERD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)
  • FLAKE (Neolithic - 4000 BC? to 2401 BC?)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Neolithic - 4000 BC? to 2401 BC?)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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