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Skye, Cill Ashik

Shell Midden(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Skye, Cill Ashik

Classification Shell Midden(S) (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Ashaig 1; Ashaig 2

Canmore ID 157989

Site Number NG62SE 34

NGR NG 6871 2424

NGR Description NG 6871 2424 and NG 6866 2420

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Strath
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Skye And Lochalsh
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NG62SE 34 6871 2424 and 6866 2420

The following sites were recorded between January and September 1999 as part of the Scotland's First Settlers Project. A full report has been lodged with the NMRS.

NG 6871 2424 Ashaig 1 This substantial shell midden is associated with the ancient cemetery and lies inside (Ashaig 2) and outside (Ashaig 1) the cemetery wall. A 1 x 0.5m trench was opened in Ashaig 1. Midden material was extensive, consisting of approximately 90% periwinkle with occasional fragments of animal bone and limpet shell. Coring with a post auger established that the site continued about 1m eastwards from the test section and suggests that the midden is extensive.

NG 6866 2420 Ashaig 2 Open midden.

Sponsors: British Academy, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Society of Antiquaries of London, Percy Hedley Trust, Russell Trust, Prehistoric Society, Applecross Trust.

B Finlayson, K Hardy and C Wickham-Jones 1999


External Reference

Description from SAIR 31:

2.2.11 SFS 6: Ashaig 1, NGR NG 6866 2420

Type of Site: Open-air midden

SFS Record: 1999

Survey Area: South Skye

Size: Unknown

Aspect: North-east

Height OD: 5m

Ground Cover: Short mown turf

Distance to Sea: 20m to north, indented marsh and shingle

Distance to Fresh Water: 30m to east

Threats: Grazing, rabbit burrowing

Description: A substantial open shell midden associated with an ancient cemetery (see Illustrations 114, left & 115, right)

Archaeology: One test pit (1m×0.5m) was opened to assess the depth of midden deposits

* Context 1 Turf

* Context 2 Midden material, mostly periwinkle

* Context 3 A series of large boulders with midden material in the soil matrix, lying between the boulders. Excavation was stopped at 76mm as the boulders impeded further work.


Lithics: There were three lithic finds at Ashaig 1, all came from Test Pit 1 and all were debitage. There were two pieces of baked mudstone and one of quartz.

Metalwork: 15.9g unclassified ironworking slag.

Shell: Oyster, limpet, periwinkle and cockle were all found.


This site has three radiocarbon dates, all taken from Test Pit 1 (see Table 32, below). All relate to activity in the 13th century AD.

Table 32

SFS 6 Context Material Date BP Age

TP1 Spit 4 OxA-9278 Hazel charcoal 771±32 AD1215–1290

TP1 Spit 6 OxA-9279 Birch charcoal 723±33 AD1220–1390

TP1 Spit 12 OxA-9277 Birch charcoal 769±36 AD1210–1295


The large boulders uncovered in Test Pit 1 appear to have been displaced from further up the slope and may have originated from a collapsed revetment from earlier structures pre-dating the present cemetery. The lithics are likely to relate to general background ‘noise’, but the dates and general proximity to the graveyard suggest that this was a site of some interest in more recent times. Metalworking at such locations would not be unexpected.

Karen Hardy & Caroline Wickham-Jones (eds). Mesolithic and later sites around the Inner Sound, Scotland: the work of the Scotland’s First Settlers project 1998–2004 (SAIR 31).

Information compiled by ARCH Community Timeline project, 2011


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