MHG7821 - Rock Shelter - Buaile Ghlas


Rock shelter containing a midden.

Type and Period (2)

  • ROCK SHELTER (Mesolithic to 19th Century - 8000 BC? to 1900 AD?)
  • MIDDEN (Mesolithic to 19th Century - 8000 BC? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NH 1204 9930. As described.
Visited by OS (A A) 8 October 1974

NH 121 994. A rock shelter with underlying midden is sited on a 25' raised beach in the angle of a sheltered estuary. Fifteen feet of overhang of Torridonian sandstone remains over an extensive and apparently deep deposit of oyster, limpet, mussel and cockle-shells with bone and deer antler tines. No artifacts were observed. An estate road removed a corner of the midden some 30 years ago, and a wooden bowl is alleged to have been recovered then. Further recent road improvements has removed a substantial portion of the deposit, but at least half the cone of dejection remains. This has the appearance of a typical Mesolithic or pre-pottery Neolithic rock shelter.
I A Crawford 1965 <1>

Photographs of the shelter were forwarded to the HER in November 2010. There are extensive views over Loch Kanaird (Keanchulish Bay) from the rock shelter. <2>

This site was recorded during a coastal assessment survey in 1996 between Ullapool and Lochinver by Andrew Long for Historic Scotland. It was described as a NW facing sandstone overhang (14m x 3m NE-SW x 3.5m high), situated on the N side of a small rocky headland immediately adjacent to the coast edge. The shelter contained a deposit (2m+ depth) consisting of rubble, dark grey soil and a variety of shellfish remains including Common European Oyster (Ostrea edulis), Common European Limpet (Patella vulgata), Common European Cockle (Cerastoderma edule), Common Periwinkle (Littorina littorea) and Common Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis). A putative worked ring of Patella vulgata shell was collected (donated to NMAS). In the absence of diagnostic dating evidence it is impossible to assign a particular date bracket to this site, however it may potentially be Mesolithic in age. Other rock shelters in the region are known to contain late medieval or post-medieval deposits (e.g. Ty-tal-vine-na-druinich, near Clachtoll, NC 02 NE 1 and Uisge Laidir, site 4/1). However, Shellfish remains have also been observed in 19th century midden deposits (e.g. Port na Ba, site 11/1.3). <3>

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NH 1203 9929 (20m by 20m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH19NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish LOCHBROOM

Finds (6)

  • OYSTER SHELL (Undated)
  • BOWL (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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