MHG55638 - Grain drying kiln complex and grain storage pits - Broadford, Strath, Skye


A possibly Bronze Age grain drying kiln complex and grain storage pits were exposed during a watching brief and subsequent excavation on the site of a new medical centre at Broadford, Strath, Skye by West Coast Archaeological Services in 2011.

Type and Period (2)

  • DRYING KILN (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • GRAIN STORAGE PIT (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An archaeological evaluation including a watching brief and excavation was carried out by West Coast Archaeological Services at the site of the new Broadford Medical Centre at High Road, Broadford, Isle of Skye, between the 25 July and 20 August 2011. A complex of intercutting and re-cut pits were exposed, some of which could be assigned specific functions by nature of their form, structure and contents. The earliest feature in the group was a circular pit [059], 1.4m wide with near vertical sides and a flat base that had been cut into the natural gravel. Basal residues included burnt organic material with possible barley grain. A grain drying kiln of several phases was also identified. This was originally formed by a deep cut into the upper fill of the storage pit [059] which contained a bedding matrix into which substantial flat-faced stones had been set to form the stone bowl for the drying chamber of the kiln. A clay blocking collar ran across the south south-east end of the bowl. The kiln was subsequently re-cut and/or modified at least twice. A shallow pit which re-cut the drying chamber of the phase 1 and 2 kilns contained charcoal lumps and flecks, peat ash, burnt grain and pottery fragments which appeared to be of Bronze Age date. Several other shallow pits may also have been associated but despite the presence of burnt grain their function was not clear. After the abandonment of the kiln complex, a levelling layer of material was spread over all of the features with the exception of the vertical-sided fire-pit. The deposit comprised a brown to black loam containing stone clasts, burnt stone, peat ash, charcoal and carbonised grain in large quantities. The small finds recovered from the deposit included daub and a number of pottery sherds, including at least one fragment from a Beaker (AOC?). The deposit most likely originated from a spoil heap resulting from active use of the kiln complex. Survival of this layer shows that subsequent ploughing has not truncated any of the features in the kiln complex. Two further grain storage pits were identified, one of which contained a dense and thick deposit of bright orange peat ash. Recovered burnt grain was primarily barley. A further pit had been cut by the construction of a souterrain (see MHG55637) although its more elongated shape and shallow dept was more reminiscent of a grave cut similar to that found elsewhere on the site (see MHG55636). Other pits exposed on the site may have had a related function but the lack of finds precluded any definite conclusion. <1>

A revised Data Structure Report (for <1>) was subsequently produced which includes the results from the post-excavation analysis along with radiocarbon dating results on samples submitted to the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre at East Kilbride. The stone-lined cist was radiocarbon dated to the Early Bronze Age, while the wide range of features relating to the processing of grain including drying and storage date to the Iron Age. A full synthesis of the results from the excavations at the Broadford Medical Centre site will be published in due course. <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NG 64071 23911 (6m by 10m)
Map sheet NG62SW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish STRATH

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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