MHG58184 - Cave, Ràrsaidh


Cave, Ràrsaidh

Type and Period (1)

  • CAVE (Unknown date)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

These sites were recorded by NOSAS in 2008/9 as part of an archaeological survey of outer Loch Hourn.

Ràrsaidh is a large area with a long and complex history. The present day Ràrsaidh Cottage lies within Rarsaybeg, and it appears as roofed on the OS 1st edition map of 1872. The 1st edition map also shows one roofed building close to the shore on Rarsay, along with several unroofed buildings. Ràrsaidh was apparently cleared in 1849 (English 2000, 287). Roy, in the mid 18th century, shows a small enclosed settlement of 5 buildings at Torr an Aoil, with rig and furrow on both sides of the Ràrsaidh Burn, though nothing where Ràrsaidh Cottage stands today. The 1808 map suggests a park close to the shore within Rarsay shieling, though no buildings are shown, as well as a small park close to the shore at Rarsaybeg with one building.

Site 1450. At the base of a sea cliff on the N side of Caolas Eilean Ràrsaidh and facing S towards Eilean Ràrsaidh, is an inhabited cave. The cave is dry, measuring 4.4 m across the mouth, and 6.9m from front to back. The lowest part of the cave floor would be about 5m above MHWM. The roof height is 4.4m at the drip-line, but tapers down to nothing at the back of the cave, becoming rapidly lower about 3m into the cave. The floor of the cave also inclines from W to E at an angle of c.25 degrees. There is a substantial wall, c.2.4m wide and standing to 1.5m high, across the E side of the cave mouth. The wall shows 2 clear phases of construction, and appears to have largely been rebuilt at some point. There is a sloping fire platform along the upper W side of the cave, c.2.60m wide and 2.7m deep, covered in fine black ash, broken shells (limpet, mussel, and winkles), plus fragments of well fired stone. There is a possible midden area, c.2.2m long x 1.8m wide in the lower, front part of the cave behind the wall, dominated by the shells of marine molluscs (same species as above). The fire platform is some 1.8m above the lowest part of the midden. Roe deer appear to have been frequenting the cave and the deposits have also been disturbed by people in recent times; some of the material appears to have been removed in bulk. There does not appear to be much opportunity for the recovery of macro artefacts. <1>

Note; Site not visible on AP’s so location approximate. (T Blackie 12/7/18)

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NG 8135 1193 (8m by 8m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG81SW
Civil Parish GLENELG
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

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